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NutraSweet Announces All-Natural Fat Substitute

January 27, 1988

NEW YORK (AP) _ A fat substitute made from milk or egg-white protein was unveiled today by the NutraSweet Co., which said it could be on the market within 12 to 18 months.

The product, called Simplesse, was billed as the first completely natural fat substitute. It provides rich taste and texture using protein from fresh egg whites or milk as a substitute for fat, said NutraSweet, a subsidiary of chemical conglomerate Monsanto Co.

Simplesse can be used in almost anything fat is used for, except frying, Robert Shapiro, NutraSweet’s chairman and chief executive officer, told a crowded news conference. It could be used in products such as ice cream, butter and spread cheeses, sour cream and dips, as well as oil-based products like salad dressings and mayonnaise, he said.

The substitute would allow calorie reductions of up to 80 percent compared with foods that contain fat, Shapiro said.

Simplesse does not require regulatory approval, and products using it could reach the market within 12 to 18 months, Shapiro said.

The announcement sent Monsanto’s stock up sharply. At noon EST, it was up $4 a share at $82.75 in active trading at the New York Stock Exchange.

He said Simplesse is ″based on an elegantly simple and totally unexpected discovery.″ NutraSweet researchers found that protein particles of a certain size and shape can ″fool the tongue″ into seeming like rich foods, he said.

Simplesse would rival Olestra, Procter & Gamble Co.’s synthetic fat substitute, which requires approval by the Food and Drug Administration.

The FDA currently is reviewing that product.

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