Piveg expands Mexican carotenoid production to meet growing demand

By Hank Schultz contact

- Last updated on GMT

Piveg has completed a 40,000-square-foot expansion of its plant in Zacatecas state in central Mexico.
Piveg has completed a 40,000-square-foot expansion of its plant in Zacatecas state in central Mexico.
Mexican carotenoids manufacturing Piveg is expanding to meet a market demand that CEO Roberto Espinoza says will remain strong for the foreseeable future, a demand that he said is bolstered by the company's certifications of quality.

The company announced a 40,000-sq-ft expansion of its plant located in Zacatecas state in central Mexico. Piveg also has production facilities further south in Celaya, in Guanajuato state.  Espinoza said the new expansion will not be devoted to production of a distinct ingredient, but will give the company greater flexibility in its manufacturing processes, some of which are done in one location, while finishing of ingredients happens at another plant.

“It’s really for all of our products. We are planning an expansion of our plant in Celaya, too,” ​Espinoza told NutraIngredients-USA.

Long history in industry

 “We have been in the natural carotenoids business since my father started the business in 1959,” ​Espinoza said. “We have been operating under the Piveg name since 1986.”

Piveg, which has a business office in San Diego, CA, has had a long history of supplying carotenoids derived from marigolds in the animal feed and food additive industries and sells into the human nutrition markets, too. The company has marigold production in Mexico and in Peru, providing supply security in the event of a climate event, Espinosa said. 

Lately the company has entered into agreements to buy haematococcus pluvialis​ biomass to extract astaxanthin. But that will change soon as the company has a plan underway to produce its own algae via an open raceway system at an undisclosed site in central Mexico. 

“In the astaxanthin business, you have the biomass production, the extraction and the final blending and marketing.  We already do the last two. And we have already begun the construction of our own plant in Mexico for the production of biomass,”​ Espinoza said.

“There has been steady demand for astaxanthin. I don’t see a huge jump in demand, but it has stayed stable. And the demand for lutein continues as well. Lutein is here to stay; that is not a trend ingredient. That is an ingredient that covers a real need in human health,” ​he said.

Quality wins out

Espinoza said he attributes the increase in demand for Piveg’s products as much to regulatory changes as to market forces.  GMP compliance has not come easily to all the players in the market, he said, and Piveg’s numerous certifications have been an advantage.  Espinoza said the company has GMP, ISO 9001 and 22000 certifications and is Prop 65 certified.

“There was this scare in New York state,” ​Espinoza said. “Before companies would fill up their supplier questionnaire with a bunch of lies. Now we see customers are really making sure that their suppliers comply. We have had companies from the US or even Europe come and audit us. It is really difficult and costly to keep up with the regulations and companies that were not properly set up before are losing market share so we continue to sell more and more of our products,” ​Espinoza said.

Currency headwinds

All companies doing business globally have felt the effects of recent currency fluctuations caused in part by weakness in the Chinese economy and uncertainty in Europe over the debt situation of several countries, principally Greece.  Espinoza said the situation hasn’t affected Piveg too seriously.

“The company’s core business is conducted in Mexican pesos and this isolation has actually been an advantage for us. Having production outside the US has been an advantage to us which it has not been in the past. The only real complaints we have had have been from Europe, where people want to have a consistent price in their own currency.  But currencies go up and down in a cycle, and if you are a global player, you have to plan for that,”​ Espinoza said.

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