FBA Issue 23: November / December 2008
Norel & Nature: Always evolving, yet always the same
by Arianne M. PEREZ
The unabated surge in grain prices and other feed raw materials has prompted livestock producers to be more prudent on choosing the right kind of feed enhancing ingredients – effective yet economical. This situation, though generally difficult, compels feed additives and raw materials manufacturer, Norel & Nature, to capitalize on the need for essential feed products that cannot simply be shelved.
"Our customers are more careful about the benefits and savings that our products can bring to them. This situation is allowing us to be more competitive against products which do not bring clear benefits," shares Mathieu Cortyl, Norel & Nature's General Manager for Asia Pacific.
Currently, the company sees a lot of market interest for its Gustor product range. Cortyl explains that "these products take advantage of the unique properties of sodium butyrate, which acts as a natural growth promoter by supplying energy to the intestinal villi and helps control pathogens in the digestive tract. Sodium butyrate is an acidifier with a specific benefit that other acidifiers don't offer - it is a very good source of energy for the villi of the intestine. What has been proven through trials is that when you feed animals with sodium butyrate, the surface size of the villi is increased, which leads to an increase in the absorption capacity of the villi, and which further promotes better feed efficacy and better absorption of nutrients.
Sodium butyrate, Cortyl notes, is not a new concept as it has been subject to some years of research, though it still remains relatively unpopular. "In Europe, there are only 2-3 companies which can produce this product. And with more and more research, some findings indicate a positive effect on the immune system."
A strong start and proud history
Norel & Nature's history stretches back to 1970 when Nature S.A., based in Barcelona, Spain, began manufacturing flavoring agents and sweeteners for animals. Later on, the company developed various ranges of additives including acidifiers, antioxidants, mould inhibitors and anti-enterobacteria products. In 1975, Nature produced the first compound acidifier in the market and developed a new line of physiological growth promoters. It had the distinction of being the 2nd company worldwide to produce volatile fatty acids (VFA) and the first in the industrial development of carboxylic acids.
Norel S.A. started way back in 1980 and was originally a supplier of raw materials for animal nutrition. It too offered a wide array of product lines including suckling animal milk replacers, milk substitutes, powdered whey, fish and soy-based and protein extracts. In 1982, Norel's business further expanded into the production of spray dried fat concentrates and methioninates of zinc, iron and manganese (the range now includes copper and various specific blends depending on species and growth stage).
Several years later in 1988, Norel opened its biotechnology plant in Leon, Spain with the collaboration of the National Scientific Research Centres of Investigation. By doing so, it  became the first Spanish biotechnology company to specialize in animal nutrition.
In 2001 Norel and Nature merged their operations and renamed the new company Norel & Nature. This coincided with the inauguration of a new plant designed to increase its production of acidifiers and organic acid salts. The plant houses a reactor along with an automated, in-line system for the manufacturing of desalts, VFAs and carboxylic acids. This new facility, which is now totally automated, enabled the company to triple its production capacity of sodium and calcium butyrate salts.
Keeping the momentum
This year, the 28th year of Norel & Nature in the animal feed industry, sees the company present in 54 countries with six factories in Spain, Egypt and Mexico, two research laboratories, two experimental farms and 150 employees with 15 percent of it belonging to the technical department. Its central offices remain in Madrid, Spain.
Its wide range of products include mould inhibitors, anti-salmonella products, acidifiers, by-pass fats, specialty fats for monogastrics, organic minerals, toxin binders, pellet binders, VFA salts and carboxylic acid salts, probiotics and prebioitcs.
Having increased its total turnover from €10 million in 1990 to €64 million in 2007, Norel & Nature achieved an impressive 500–percent growth over the period, indicating its consistent and strong presence in the animal feed sector.
Touching various livestock producers and animal feed players around the globe, the company maintains its philosophy centered on dynamic innovation, cost reduction, product concentration (linked with low dosage products), differentiation and consistency.
It boasts of a market experience based on meticulous raw material selection and full traceability at every stage. The company also ensures that an expanding network of distributors provide effective market coverage and a technical support personalized to customer needs.
A philosophy of ongoing innovation
Norel & Nature's dynamic attitude in the market can only be attained and maintained by constant research, innovation and continuous development of products designed to improve animal welfare.
The company invests more than three percent of its total turnover into Research & Development. The two research laboratories are for biotechnological and chemical and biological studies. It also has an animal test station with porcine and avian facilities for the development and control of its products, as well as an experimental poultry farm.
Furthermore, its laboratories and experimental activities are reinforced with several research agreements and joint projects with five universities, three independent consultancies and advisory centers and with eight recognized national and international research institutes.
Cortyl explains that, "these valuable tie - ups with various universities and entities allow the company to be flexible in different kinds of trials, to better answer the needs of specific countries."
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