In response to increasing demand for Frutafit® inulin, Dutch ingredients company Sensus is to expand its manufacturing capacity in Roosendaal, The Netherlands from a few thousand tonnes to several tens of thousands of tonnes. The company claims that the multi-million investment is the result of a new strategy that aims to profile as an inulin producer. "As a reliable worldwide supplier of clever product concepts for healthy foods based on inulin," commented CEO Theo van Leeuwen and Ad Alberts, Marketing & Sales Director. Sensus's output in Roosendaal is still predominantly fructose from chicory. But, according to the company, market share that has been built up has now reached its limit, because the sweetener is subject to quota restrictions as part of the European sugar market regulation. Further pressure on prices will arrive when the sugar market controls are dismantled. In contrast, Sensus stressed in a statement, sales of the other chicory product-inulin-have been increasing dramatically for years and the rise is set to continue in the near future. The soluble dietary fibre, which has a beneficial effect on the gut flora, cholesterol levels and human immune system, is being more and more widely used in "functional foods". "Our sales have continued to rise steeply ever since we started producing Frutafit® inulin in 1996," said Theo van Leeuwen. "Last year we ran up against our manufacturing limits so we expanded capacity by 70 per cent through modifying a production line. But now we need more capacity again. That's why we're building extra lines, which will come into operation next August. The investment runs into several tens of millions of euros." Sensus maintains that it has made strategic choices. The company has opted for those market segments in which it is or aims to be a leading supplier. These segments dovetail with the strategy of the parent company Cosun. This international concern, with sales of € 1.1 billion and 5000 employees, is increasingly focusing on customer-specific food ingredients. "Because we operate worldwide in the functional food market, we see trends that we can translate both to other parts of the world and to other product types. Take the growth of liquid breakfast products in Europe, for instance. And the concept of fibre-enriched fruit juices that you can also use in ordinary soft drinks-something that is already happening in the US and Japan. Sometimes we see new applications that are still completely unknown to our customers," said Ad Alberts. Sensus is confining itself to specific inulin products and market demand determines what they are. "In response to the demand, we shall be expanding our range significantly over the next few months," concluded Theo van Leeuwen.