Frost and Sullivan has awarded the US agri-giant its product leadership award, which is given to the company that has best demonstrated the ability to develop products over and above those of its competitors.
"ADM is one of the first companies to have recognised that consumers be given an option for a trans fat free range of products," stated the award.
"[The] Novalipid range of free and low trans fats products [has the] potential to revolutionize the edible oils and fats sector, [as does] the enzymatic interesterification technology underpinning its production."
ADM launched its line of zero and reduced trans fat oils and shortenings in July last year, marketing them for use in margarine, baking, frying, confectionery, snack and cereal products.
Trans fats have been blamed for increasing rates of obesity and obesity-related diseases. New Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations will require trans fats to be labeled on foods from 1 January 2006, prompting several ingredients firms to come up with new oil formulations that will not need to be highlighted on foods labels.
ADM has been steadily building up a profile in value-added products such as specialty food ingredients, bioproducts and nutraceuticals - such as vitamin E and sterols. It also makes the Enova brand cooking oil, said to help combat obesity.
In June, the company announced that over the next year it would expand its NovaLipid line at its Quincy, Illinois enzyme inter-esterification facility because of increasing market demand, which will no doubt soar when the new labelling rules come into force.
Denmark started the trend to eliminate trans fats when it became the first country in the world in June 2003 to introduce restrictions on the use of industrially produced trans fatty acids. Oils and fat are now forbidden on the Danish market if they contain trans fatty acids exceeding 2 percent.
And food makers worldwide have started to respond to this development, removing trans fats and hunting for replacements. The Swiss food giant Nestle, plus a raft of mainly North American companies - including Kraft Foods, Frito-Lay, a division of PepsiCo and soup producer Campbells - have already cut the trans fat content of certain food lines.