From the beginning of this year, the company says it has significantly stepped up its capacity for developing citrus-based ingredients and oils with the opening of its new development and production centre at Limeira. As a growing number of soft drink processors across the globe move to utilize fruit-based beverages, the group says it hopes the facility, situated in a key area of country's citrus crop, will let it lead the market for citrus-based solutions. Global focus Martin Tolksdorf, head of marketing and product development for the group in the region, said the plant was a vital step in allowing the company to tap demand from processors for citrus products on a global basis. "I fully expect Doehler South America to be exporting innovative product ideas generated in Brazil back into the worldwide company network in the very near future," he stated. The construction, which will be called the Doehler America Latina (DAL) site, covers 50,000m square metres, allowing the group to step up its focus on producing citrus fractions and flavours for manufacturers. Citrus innovation potential Despite the company's global focus, Doehler says that domestically, South American markets like Argentina, Chile, Peru, Venezuela and of course Brazil, are showing strong potential for innovative citrus ingredients. According to the group, the beverage segments of these major markets remain dominated by carbonated beverages. By comparison, fruit juice and nectar consumption currently remains low on the back of relatively low consumer spending power, the company said. Similarly, premium beverage categories such as energy and sport drinks are beginning to increase in popularity, with Doehler anticipating rapid expansion over the next decade. The group therefore said the site would allow it to better focus on the largely untapped potential of flavoured waters and other added value products in the next few years.