The Danish firm that brushes a close second to Chr Hansen in the global cultures market will push up production to target three key markets - cheese, fresh dairy and probiotics.
"This upgrade goes hand in hand with our ambition of gaining an even stronger foothold in the frozen cultures area, particularly for fresh dairy, to meet future growth in Europe," said Fabienne Saadane-Oaks, president of Danisco Cultures.
Cultures are microorganisms used to acidify milk in the production of a raft of dairy products, including yoghurt, butter and cheese. They facilitate the fermentation process that provides the taste and texture to these foods.
The move to invest in the German facilities, that together with plants in France, the US and Poland make up the 10 production sites of the Danisco Cultures division, comes a few months after the Danish firm's bolt-on acquisition of Rhodia Food Ingredients from French chemical firm Rhodia.
Leapfrogging into the number two cultures slot and the number three enzymes position with the €320 million purchase in June this year, Danisco has already seen gains, reporting last month that the integration of RFI had brought it 10 per cent growth in sales for the quarter, helping to lift an otherwise challenging first quarter for 2004/2005.
"The investment is a natural consequence of Danisco's acquisition of Rhodia Food. With the €7 million investment in Niebüll, we strengthen our performance in frozen pelletised cultures for the European market," added Saadane-Oaks.
Pierre Cans, vice-president of operations at Danisco Cultures, told FoodNavigator.com that the German facilities will mainly service the European market, although distribution will reach the global market.
The new facilities at the Niebull site, that belonged to Danisco before the Rhodia acquisition, will start immediately and are expected to be operational by the start of 2006.