BY TERRY TAN
Arm & Hammer Animal Nutrition has been operating in Thailand for three years and seeks to raise its market share in Asia as demands for its products grow.
Speaking to eFeedLink during the agribusiness trade show VIV Asia 2017 - the company's second appearance at the event, research fellow Elliot Block hopes that visitors will be left with a lasting, positive impression of Arm & Hammer Animal Nutrition.
"Our expectation is to establish a presence here. We consider our presence in VIV Asia successful if people walk away from our booth and say "Oh, Arm & Hammer!"," Block remarks.
Based in the municipality of Princeton in New Jersey, US, Arm & Hammer's legacy spans three centuries, with 150 years of operation in the North American market. It boasts - among its huge range of products for dairy and beef cattle, poultry and swine – CELMANAX, a "multiple feed additives in one" solution containing Refined Functional Carbohydrates (RFCs) that are derived from yeast and help to improve overall health and feed conversion in animals.
All the company's manufacturing sites are concentrated in the States, and its major markets are in North America - namely, Canada and Mexico. Arm & Hammer's animal health products in the US mainly cater to ruminants and dairy cattle, but it is also starting to move into the beef cattle, poultry and swine sectors there, Block says.
Outside North America, poultry is the key sector the company reaches out to, in South America and the rest of the world. Asia's rising middle class, in tandem with increased protein consumption, yields growth promises for the livestock industry in the region; and Arm & Hammer is ready to venture into countries which offer credible opportunities for expansion within the Far East, according to Block.
Grounded in research
Paramount to the development of Arm & Hammer's services and products is research.
"When it comes to animal research, we pride ourselves as being a research-focused group. And everything we do has to be done through scientific methods, knowledge research and the consultation of scientific journals, before we go into the market," Block explains. This way, the company is able to maintain the sustainability of its production by, for example, determining if products can made in existing facilities or require new plants to be set up.
Importantly, commercial viability plays a part in deciding the development and launch of specific solutions. Even if the ideas are good, the excessive cost of producing them and lack of market demand do not justify their developments. These are critical factors to ensure that Arm & Hammer introduces products which are sustainably produced and of practical relevance.
"Developing a product starts with a very small idea. We develop it to a point, to see if it is commercially viable. Once we get past those business hurdles, we then move into small scale production," Block says.
Currently, one of Arm & Hammer's most popular products is CELMANAX. "What separates CELMANAX from the other products on the market is that we use an enzymatic hydrolysis process - using enzymes to break out specific Refined Functional Carbohydrates (RFCs)," Dr. Theresia Lavergne, manager of field technical services for monogastrics, explains. "And these are compounds such as mannan oligosaccharides (MOS). The sugar, mannose, is one of these, along with beta 1,3/1,6 glucans."
The result is a product with potent bioavailability benefits for animals.
Knowledge transfer backed by market intelligence
The successful application of Arm & Hammer's animal products requires sound knowledge, and Block and Dr. Lavergne's objective in VIV Asia is to support the company's sales team in providing the right technical information and sharing valuable resources with customers. In communicating with Asia-based customers, they are aided along by consultants Dr. K.S Su and Dr. Patel.
For a knowledge transfer like this to be effective, it has to be backed by good market intelligence. Block believes it would enable Arm & Hammer to serve the global market in a more precise and efficient manner.
"We need to have a good understanding of the market before deciding the services to deliver. Some of these are specialised services," he comments, noting that the company handles various services, like feed testing programmes, in accordance with the needs of producers. "The northeast of the US may require different set of services than California and Texas." Hence, within Asia, Arm & Hammer's customized services in markets such as China, Thailand and Vietnam, will differ from each other.
"As we start learning about the market, we will develop whatever services make sense to support farmers," Block says.