AB Enzymes is already present in South Africa which has a strong wine, brewing and fruit juice industry, and it also supplies multinational food companies operating in the region, but, up until now, the supplier held back on targeting domestic food and drink producers in countries such as Morocco, Sudan and Egypt.
“It had to do with the market size itself, which was rather limited and prevented deeper penetration in the region. Our expansion plans, up to now, were thus focused on China, Latin America and South East Asia Pacific,” said Pieter-Jan Heykoop, regional sales director, AB Enzymes, when speaking to this publication today.
Citing research from market analysts which indicates that the Middle East and Africa (MEA) market is expected to grow 8 to 10 per cent over the next 5 years, he reckons now is the time for AB Enzymes to step in.
'On the ground' understanding
The deal with Orkila will enable access to local markets as its affiliates have the necessary language skills and the ‘on the ground’ understanding required to enter certain markets, explained Heykoop.
“It is really positive for us to have one distributor that can cover a whole region as well as diverse industries,” he said, adding that the baking industry is the main target for the enzyme producer in this geography as it is the most mature.
Heykoop admits that as there are more risks attached to developing business in the MEA region, AB Enzymes has adapted its price structuring for that market.
It also intends to tailor its offering to processors in the region from dosage delivery to enzyme combinations per bread or beverage application. But AB Enzymes stresses that its maltogenic amylases can be utilized with most baking methods and flour grades worldwide.
Very few gaps exist now in terms of AB Enzymes’ geographical reach, he said. “Our future expansion strategy will rely more on greater exposure in the markets we are currently present, in tandem with increasing the food and drink applications for enzymes,” remarked Heykoop.
In general, he expects additional market share for enzymes to come from their use as water binders and emulsifier replacers in bakery, as well as their ability to work as filtration aids in beverage.
AB Enzymes forms part of ABF Ingredients, a division of Associated British Foods.