Kao to sell its cooking oil in U.S.

Toiletry giant Kao Corp. said Tuesday it will launch sales of its Econa cooking oil across the U.S. in January, hoping it will become popular with health-conscious consumers there.

Enova Oil, renamed for the U.S. market, will be sold by a joint venture in the U.S. established with Archer Daniels Midland Co.

It is Kao’s first food product marketed overseas, the company said.

Kao introduced Econa cooking oil in Japan in 1999, touting its health benefits, such as curbing body fat.

This and other oil-related products brought the company 28 billion yen in sales in fiscal 2003.

The U.S. version of the oil is priced at $4.99 for a 20-ounce bottle, approximately four times higher than that for regular cooking oil, the company said.

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