PB Gelatins, the gelatin activity of Tessenderlo Group, is setting up a joint venture to be known as PB Gelatins (Pingyang), near Wenzhou in south-eastern China.
The company is working together with the Chinese company Zhejiang Feipeng Gelatin Industry with a view to producing high-quality gelatin.
This is the latest example of western firms moving into the lucrative and relatively untapped Chinese ingredients market. While the market for non-gelatin products has grown in some western countries on the back of health concerns, Eastern demand for gelatin has rocketed.
As China's diet becomes more westernised, its need for gelatin has grown, and currently imports great quantities of the ingredient from other countries.
Gelatin, a translucent colourless substance, is created by prolonged boiling of animal skin, connective tissue or bones. It is most commonly used as a stabiliser, thickener, or texturiser in foods such as ice cream, jams and yoghurt and is also used to simulate the mouthfeel of fat.
Tessenderlo Group said that it plans to acquire an 80 per cent stake in the capital of PB Gelatins. The Chinese partner is to take the remaining 20 per cent. The amount of the investment has not been disclosed.
This cooperation is in line with the strategy adopted by Tessenderlo Group, which aims to strengthen the position of PB Gelatins as a world player on the gelatin market by ensuring a presence on the three most important gelatin markets: Europe, America and now Asia, as well.
The group believes that it is taking a major step towards the Chinese market with this joint venture, which offers interesting growth prospects for the production of high-quality gelatin in China, thanks to the constant increase in exports of consumer goods and pharmaceutical products, as well as the growing local market.
Tessenderlo Group is not the only western group to take an interest in this market. Rousselot for example recently acquired a fourth gelatin plant in China in order to satisfy the increasing demand within the Asian food market.
The newly formed Rousselot (Zhejiang) Gelatin company, also located in Pingyang town, Wenzhou, has a production capacity of 3,000 tons acid hide and acid pig skin gelatin. The firm, which claims to be the worlds second largest manufacturer of gelatin, entered the market in March 1996 with a first joint venture in Kaiping, called Rousselot (Guangdong) Gelatin.
Part of the Netherlands-based VION Food Group, Rousselot is a manufacturer of gelatin and hydrolysed collagen to the food industry.