The investment is responding to a rise in demand for frozen and freeze-dried starter cultures from the global yoghurt, fresh fermented and cheese markets, it said in a statement today.
The factories are located in Sassenage in southeast France, Epernon in northern France and Niebüll in Germany, located near the Danish border.
The first phase of expansion will begin in 2017 in Sassenage by increasing its capacity for fermentation, biomass separation and freeze-drying.
Investment at Niebüll and Epernon will focus on frozen culture production with greater capacity for ultra-cold storage (-55°C) at the German facility, and a new fermenter at Epernon.
A spokesperson for DuPont said the speed at which the investment is rolled out will be impacted by customer demand, but that the investment at Sassenage for freeze-drying capacity should be in place by the end of 2018.
The equipment could also be used to produce probiotics, although this is not currently planned for Europe, the spokesperson added. In November last year DuPont announced a significant $100m (€95m) expansion of its US-based manufacturing capability for probiotics.
Due to the uncertainty regarding the roll-out period, DuPont could not confirm how many jobs would be created by the €57m expenditure.
Global boom in dairy demand
This increased production capacity in Europe will meet a rising demand for dairy products not just in Europe but around the world.
Cultures and food protection leader at the firm John Rea said: “The global dairy industry is expected to grow in the next five years driven by the higher consumption of fresh dairy products especially in Asia, as well as by the increased demand for cheese and cheese products for the food service industry.
“The investments in both freeze-dried and frozen pellets cultures format will reinforce DuPont Nutrition & Health’s leading position to serve and anticipate the needs of the global yogurt, fresh fermented and cheese industry,”
The two storage techniques allow fermentation cultures to be kept active and are preferable depending on supply chains. Frozen cultures must be stored at temperatures between -40 °C and -50 °C degrees.
Freeze-dried cultures are dried and stored at temperatures between -20 °C and +4 °C, making them ideal for supply chains located in developing regions which are not equipped with deep freezers that go below -40 °C.
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