West Coast energy drinkers spur Fortitech's premix expansion

By Clarisse Douaud

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags United states Drink

The West Coast's thirst for energy drinks has driven nutrient
premix specialist Fortitech to open a new manufacturing facility in
Califoria set to increase the company's production for the Western
United States by 350 percent.

The supplier has funneled $22m into upgrading or creating new facilities worldwide over the past five years.

It purchased its original California plant - in Fontana - in 2003.

This was followed by the construction of a brand new plant in Denmark in 2005, as well a similar project currently underway in Malaysia.

Each of the company's facilities fulfills a specific regional need.

The new facility thereby signals increased demand in the Western premix market and, according to Fortitech, this is largely driven by the boom of the energy drink market.

"It's a worldwide trend, but especially in the West," Fortitech communications manager Mark Fanion told NutraIngredients-USA.com.

Over half of the global premix market is destined for use in beverages, but what differentiates the market in the Western US is that is it particularly fragmented, said Fanion.

While the company's global headquarters in Schenectady, New York supply major multinational companies with huge premix orders, the existing Western facility sees orders designed for smaller scale specialty healthy products.

As a result, Fortitech will have expanded botanical premix capabilities at the Ontario, California site.

The company's Western specialty premix clients include manufacturers of specialty drinks, organic products or granola bars - typically small scale 'mom and pop' companies.

This reflects certain trends and lifestyle choices in the Western United States, particularly the state of California.

"California tends to buy more specialty healthy products," said Fanion.

"Consumers are willing to pay more."

As such, Fortitech's orders in the Western US are typically for a diverse range of smaller batches.

Demand had not yet reached a crippling level for the capacity of the Fontana facility, but building a facility 14 miles down the road was seen as away to prepare for a market on the upswing.

"We do foresee the future being very robust for premixes," said Fanion.

"We want to stay ahead of the curve."

Scheduled to be up and running by September 2007, the new plant will be 53,000 square feet and designed to produce over 7,000 tons of custom premixes per year.

Fortitech also recently relocated to a larger distribution office in Mexico City and added 35,000 square feet of warehouse and manufacturing space to its New York facility.

Energy drinks form a key sector of the growing functional foods market.

According to Datamonitor, between 2000 and 2005, consumer spending on sport food and beverages alone - of which energy drinks play a significant role - grew by 6.7 percent to $3.1bn in the US.

The market analyst predicts that by 2010 total consumer spending on sports nutrition products will reach $6.9bn.

The US is set to account for $4.8bn of this.

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