Danisco boosts cultures capacity as probiotics market swells

By Caroline Scott-Thomas

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Probiotic, Us

Danisco has said that it is investing €60m ($85m) to boost capacity for its frozen and freeze dried direct vat inoculants (DVI) in Europe and the US, primarily to feed growing demand for probiotic cultures.

The investment, in its Niebüll, Germany, and Rochester, Minnesota plants, is expected to boost production capacity by 2000 tonnes over the next three years, the company said.

Danisco’s cultures division has seen a nine per cent increase in sales, and a 23 per cent increase in profits over the past year, which it says is due in part to dairy manufacturers turning away from traditional bulk starter cultures to its ‘more reliable’ DVI cultures.

Danisco said: “The steep demand growth curve is also fuelled by the continuous rise of the health and nutrition market, particularly for probiotic cultures in both dietary supplements and functional foods, the development of natural food protective solutions as well as the mainstream trend towards more natural and sustainable products as cultures benefit from consumer friendly labelling.”

Probiotics market

According to Euromonitor International, the value of the global probiotic market, including yoghurt, supplements and juice, was over $20bn (€14.2bn) in 2008. But there is currently an emphasis on the European market, in which the market analysts said that probiotic yoghurt alone was worth $6.73bn (€4.8bn) last year.

The US probiotics market is still considered to be relatively immature compared to Europe, although it is growing rapidly. In 2008, Datamonitor valued the US market for probiotics at about $1.5bn (€1.06bn), up from $952m (€674m) five years earlier.

Why DVI?

DVI systems (also known as direct vat set cultures, or DVS) are designed to combat bacteriophage – an age-old problem in the dairy industry that kills bacteria, thereby slowing the production process – by enabling manufacturers to rotate cultures. Traditional bulk starters are less easy to rotate, so it is said that the risk is higher.

And Danisco is not the only supplier to see increased demand for its direct-to-vat cultures. Earlier this year Chr. Hansen said that the global recession had boosted demand for its DVS culture systems as its customers looked for ways to raise productivity. It claims that DVS technology reduces wastage and increases yield – important attributes at a time when manufacturers are making cost reduction a top priority.

DVI has not always been an option associated with value, and the current international swing away from bulk starters takes starter methods full circle. Fifty years ago, DVI was the only culture of choice for the dairy industry, but when bulk starters developed about two decades later they were seen as a lower cost alternative.

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