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Carbery corporate relaunch focuses on value added market

By Anthony Fletcher in Paris , 05-Dec-2005

Carbery believes that its new corporate structure will enable the dairy ingredients giant to tap growing demand for added value products and provide a one-stop-shop for manufacturers.

The business, Ireland's largest cheese manufacturer, uses up seven per cent of the country's milk and produces 32,000 tonnes of cheese.

But with the European cheese market maturing and growth slowing, and with enormous price pressure in commodity markets, diversification is key.

Milk-derived, value-added ingredients for example are showing solid signs of growth, and Carbery has also increasingly been focusing its attentions in other ingredient sectors.

Carbery began expanding in 1998 with the acquisition of two flavour houses, Synergy Flavours and US Flavours and Fragrances. The company also acquired UK savoury ingredients company Customblend.

Last month these added value ingredient-focused companies were brought under the Synergy brand, along with Carbery's brewer's and lactic yeast-based flavour production.

"We want to establish ourselves as a creator of taste as well as ingredients," Carbery Food Ingredients marketing director Noel Corcoran told FoodNavigator. "We want to communicate to customers that they can bring a product to us and ask us to make it fruitier, or sweeter.

"And the establishment of Synergy is a core part of this."

Carbery, which also unveiled its new logo in Paris, is clearly looking to position itself as a global provider of taste in order to move into faster growing segments of the food ingredients market. Cheese will still form an important sector of the business, but the establishment of Synergy as a taste-focused subsidiary shows the group's intentions.

"The Synergy name also has resonance," said Corcoran. "And as a result, we can offer customers a one-stop shop in ingredient solutions."

This in effect is the thinking behind the corporate reshuffle. Carbery can provide, say, a beverage manufacturer with whey protein for a healthy drink, while Synergy can provide the taste. "This, in a bottle, is what we can do," said Corcoran.

Indeed, whey protein, traditionally used in infant, clinical and sports applications, has enormous potential in mainstream applications. The health benefit of adding whey protein in everyday foods without adversely affecting the taste could be significant.

"But it has to taste okay," said Corcoran. "We can make whey protein taste better."

The group used the FiE exhibition to highlight a number of new products. Optipep for example is a hydrolysed whey protein range that can reduce allergenicity in infant formulas. Specialist enzyme blends have also been used to reduce bitterness.

He believes that all the signs are positive. The whey derivatives market is growing fast, and the new corporate structure will hopefully communicate to customers the range of services provided.

"We want to do for whey protein what the soy industry has done so well, and what Ocean Spray has done for cranberries," he said.

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