Balchem boosts Choline production by 50% as cognitive category drives demand

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

© kulkann / Getty Images
© kulkann / Getty Images

Related tags Choline Pregnancy Brain health Cognitive function

Responding to growing demand for choline across the lifespan, Balchem has announced the completion of its US capacity expansion for its VitaCholine, boosting output by 50%.

The company announced the completion of its 2,230 sqm facility expansion, with Frédéric Boned, Senior VP & General Manager, Human Nutrition & Health at Balchem, stating: “We’re enthusiastic about the successful expansion of our VitaCholine manufacturing capacity. This milestone demonstrates our commitment to providing an expanded supply of quality human choline to help our partners’ global growth in early childhood nutrition, dietary supplements and food & beverage applications.”

Choline

Interest in choline and its cognitive health benefits have been increasing over the past several years, particularly around maternal and infant health: In mid-2017, the American Medical Association called for higher choline levels in prenatal vitamins​.

Such calls are particularly important in the context of data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) that shows that 90% of children, adults and pregnant women are not getting enough choline. The Adequate Intake (AI) for adults is 425 mg/day for women and 550 mg/day of choline for men.

For pregnant women this is a very serious issue, given choline’s importance for the neurodevelopment of the infant. (Recommendations increase to 450 mg for pregnant women and 550 mg for breastfeeding women.)

While significant research has focused on the benefits for the developing baby – for example, research published in 2018 showed how more choline intake during pregnancy boosts the cognitive capacity of newborns​ – there is also interest across the lifespan for improving cognitive function.

Data from Google Trends shows that searches for the term ‘Choline’ have steadily trended upward, reaching +55% compared to 2020.

This surge of interest is linked to consumers becoming increasingly aware of the numerous health benefits delivered by this ingredient, said the company, including supporting cognitive health. The latter is also the fastest growing category, registering a +7.2% in 2022, against +1.9% of the overall industry. 

Sustainability

The 50% increased production capacity for choline has come with a significant upgrade in technology, such as new heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, alongside packaging automation to ensure better environmental conditions, said Balchem in a release. The new installations will also result in improved air quality and process consistency to optimize the regulation of heat and humidity, for higher-quality solutions.

Balchem has also implemented energy-efficient systems and initiatives to reduce water and waste, as part of its sustainability goals and commitment to the United Nations Global Compact.

“We are actively expanding our global footprint so we can support customers by providing quality ingredients in all markets,” said Boned. “This expansion bolsters our U.S. supply chain and, when combined with our Italian VitaCholine site and the Norwegian K2VITAL site, positions us well for future growth.

“Our international presence, combined with the synergies among our integrated branded ingredients, enables us to offer formulators a scientific advantage in strategic health areas, unlocking new opportunities."        

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