Waitaki bone product to grow sales in Europe

By Jess Halliday

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags New zealand Market

New Zealand's Waitaki Biosciences is expand its presence in Europe
with its flagship MCH-Cal bone health ingredient, and is looking at
ways to diversify by tapping the country's non-animal resources.

At present, most of Waitaki's European sales come from Greenshell mussel powder, an anti-inflammatory for human and animal health. But MCH-Cal has already started selling in Germany and The Netherlands, and regional export manager Campbell Naish told NutraIngredients.com that there are plans to introduce it into more countries. In particular, Waitaki has good relations in France.

It is also aiming to gain more recognition all across the United States, where it has a distribution agreement with American Ingredients. Until now business has been concentrated mostly on the west coast.

In the past twelve months, growth in all four of Waitaki's markets (US, Europe, Asia, and New Zealand and Australia) has been well into double-digit percentage rates. The US remains the largest market proportionately with 55 to 60 percent of sales, whereas Europe makes 25 to 30 percent of sales. But Europe has been the fastest growing.

MCH-Cal, made from whole bone, is said to increase bone density and maintain calcium intake. Since it is produced at low temperatures it also contains collagen and protein, which might otherwise be burnt off or destroyed by solvents. This, Naish said, means it is a "bone-health package".

The company is currently installing new processing technology that will increase volumes and decrease delivery times - an important factor when supplying far away customers.

Although historically the company has been focused on animal derivatives that come out of the food processing chain, it is starting to looking at botanicals as a means to add another string to its bow.

"We are looking at other ingredients that will cater to different markets that don't take animal products and are affected by issues such as BSE,"​ said Naish.

The company is in the process of identifying a product from the fruit and veg area that will fit with its existing mix - most likely in the area of immune and gut health.

"We are putting time and money into products that can be processed out of raw materials that are unique to New Zealand."

This uniqueness, he said, will help the company maintain an advantage and stave off competition from China and India, where the cost of production is significantly lower.

Although contracts have yet been signed with a research team, Naish said a botanical product may be on the market within 12 months.

New Zealand has a strong network of government-affiliated research and development teams specializing in horticulture, agriculture and animal products, with which biosciences companies like Waitaki can partner up.

"The natural health sector in New Zealand is set up because we are a primary producer still, and we are very focused on finding ways to add value to agricultural resources,"​ said Naish.

"There are a lot of privately-funded biotech companies, and we are geared up to seeing what we can find that can offer some benefits to the world."

He added that New Zealand ingredients are starting to make more of an impact on world markets as more research comes to fruition and more funding becomes available to get projects off the ground.

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