On the back of the figures, the Suffolk-based maker of malted food ingredients used for their colour, flavour and texture characteristics in confectionery, bakery, breakfast cereals and beer applications this week picked up the Queen's Award for Enterprise, International Trade, 2004.
Andy Janes, marketing manager at MMI put the growth down to multiple factors. "A healthy market moving in our favour contributed, as did a strong global marketing, sales and advertising push from the company," he said to FoodNavigator.com.
Sales have also benefited from the acquisition of a malt extract manufacturing plant in the UK from Novartis. "We acquired rights to their product but we needed to keep a hold on customer loyalty. There is lots of competition worldwide but a committed sales and marketing push meant we have been able to sustain the customers," added Janes.
The firm, which saw export sales turnover grow from £2.5 million in 2001 to £7.9 million in 2003, told FoodNavigator.com it has invested about £6 million in the business in the last three to four years. Most recently, £1.2 million has been spent on a new flaking plant in Suffolk, with the finished ingredients targeted at the bakery market.
"The 100 per cent natural ingredients bring flavour and texture to bakery products. Initially available in the UK market, the product is targeted worldwide," said Janes, underlining that the company's network of worldwide distributors expanded from 21 in 2001 to today's 83.
Benefitting from the current trend for healthy food options, the natural food ingredients are also being marketed for use as natural sweeteners in a variety of applications, including breakfast cereals. Janes said: "Malt ingredients are made, without the use of chemicals or additives, through temperature- and moisture-controlled conditions. As a natural sweetener, they can be used just like sugar as a flavour enhancer."
The Stowmarket, Suffolk site for MMI is home to a 70,000 tonnes per year maltings, a 33,000 tonnes per annum malt extract plant with a total of 6,000 tonnes of spraydrying and band drying facility, plus a 3,000 tonnes per annum homebrew production line.