The expansion to the capacity of the French plant comes in addition to a previously announced €60m set aside to increase cultures capacity worldwide.
Danisco did not reveal the size of the latest investment but said the move will boost capacity for three of its dairy and meat culture brands.
These are Choozit cheese ripening cultures, Texel maturation and surface cultures for meat, and Holdbac protective cultures for fresh fermented dairy products. Danisco spokesperson Nathalie Brosse said demand for these cultures is being driven by the trend towards natural products.
John Rea, VP of the starters and ripening SBU, said: “The Dangé-Saint-Romain site is perfectly adapted to the production of these specialist cultures and with this investment we strengthen further our abilities to serve these markets.” The Dangé site, which specialises in freeze-dried cultures but also produces limited amounts of liquid format cultures, became fully operational in December.
Growth in cultures
Demand for Danisco cultures is currently very strong. In its latest trading update for the three months ending October 31, Danisco reported a 3.2 per cent drop in quarterly revenues but culture sales grew 3 per cent (7 per cent in organic terms).
To support continued growth in cultures over the next three years, Danisco announced in August 2009 an investment of €60m in increased capacity for frozen and freeze dried direct vat inoculants (DVI) in Europe and the US.
The investment, in its plants in Niebüll, Germany, and Rochester, Minnesota in the US, is expected to boost production capacity by 2000 tonnes over the next three years.
Danisco says the increased demand for its cultures is being driven by continued conversion from bulk starter to Direct Vat Inoculation (DVI). The company claims DVI, which is a method of applying starters, saves time and offers increased precision and efficiency.
According to Danisco, “The steep demand growth curve is also fuelled by the continuous rise of the health and nutrition market, particularly for probiotic cultures.”
DVI is a method of applying Lactic Acid Bacteria (LAB), otherwise known as starters, to cheese, yoghurts and fermented milks, whereby a highly concentrated ‘ready made’ starter is added directly to products.