The US firm, a partnership between soy supplier Bunge and DuPont, said it has renamed all current lecithin products to the Solec brand name.
Used extensively in food applications, lecithin, a natural emulsifier, is mainly obtained from soybeans, although also sourced from palm oil, rapeseed and other crops.
Increased demand in recent years for non-GM lecithin supplies is pushing up the price for this popular ingredient, used in a wide range of applications from chocolates and confectionery, to dressings and spreads. .
Supplies, relatively smooth in past years when the genetically modified issue had a lower profile, are now falling short of demand.
The European market for Identify Preserved (IP) soybeans (both hard and soft) is estimated at about 40,000 to 60,000 tons for both food and feed.
But the deficit is in the region of 10 per cent, with supplies falling short by about 4,000 tons.
According to market analysts Frost & Sullivan lecithin is the main natural emulsifier (naturals take up 16 per cent of the market, synthetics 84 per cent) in the €307 million European market. The analysts pitched the lecithin market at €49 million in 2003, slightly higher than 2000.
On the hunt for less alternatives to lecithin, last month food institute Leatherhead Food Research called on food manufacturers to participate in a comparative study of the performance of soya lecithins against non-soya based lecithins, and other potential emulsifiers.
There are two key criteria: price and availability, Dr. Martin Eeles, principal scientist at Leatherhead explained to FoodNavigator.com.
In a separate announcement Solae, along with a handful of soy processors, launched a new alliance designed "to provide a variety of services to increase the capacity of African businesses by incorporating soy ingredients into their products."
The Soy in Southern Africa Alliance is a two-year, public-private partnership led by the World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH) that will target nine African countries.
The WISHH Alliance said it will provide training courses and training materials to local manufacturers, distributors, and processors that explain ways to use soy proteins for functional, nutritional and economic benefit.