Chr Hansen has opened its first product development centre in Asia to boost its capabilities as a supplier and partner in the region.
Located in Singapore, the new ‘Industry Technology Centre’ will serve customers and distributors in the Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa, providing formulation and product development advice.
Specifically, Chr Hansen will work with its partners on incorporating its natural ingredients including dairy cultures and natural colours into yoghurts, beverages, confectionery and other food products.
Initially work will be focused on yoghurts, yoghurt drinks, and beverages but as the development centre establishes itself the scope will broaden to other product areas.
The new center features a pilot plant for production of yoghurt-type dairy products, drinks, and other foods, as well as food application and microbiology laboratories.
There are also conference facilities for hosting seminars and training events.
Chr Hansen already has similar facilities in Denmark, the US, France and Germany. By building a development center in Singapore, the ingredients supplier hopes to better serve its growing customer base in Asia.
Ian Morgan, director of regional strategy projects at Chr Hansen, said: “The ITC will improve our speed and competences as a development partner with food producers operating in the region.
“For instance, we expect the ITC to support us further exploring the opportunities for Chr. Hansen products in traditional Asian, Indian and Arabian products such as lactic acid bacteria drinks, dahi and laban.
“Moreover, the ITC will be a good base for increasing our cooperation with research associations and other regional stakeholders.”
Chr Hansen said it selected Singapore as the location for the new centre because of the skills base in the region and its proven track record of smooth logistics operations and regulations.
Christian Overgaard, regional vice president, at Chr. Hansen told FoodNavigator.com that operations in the Asia, Middle East, Africa (APMEA) region have grown rapidly over the past few years.
Sales in the APMEA region stood at €66m in 2009 after growing 13 per cent from the previous year. Overgaard said the investment in Singapore will allow the company to sustain its growth there by shifting from being a supplier of ingredients to a regional development partner.
He said the 5-10 initial employees at the site have experience that extends beyond Chr Hansen ingredients enabling them to provide more complete formulation advice.