November 5, 2012

Nutriad: leading by technology, driven by customers

An eFeedLink Exclusive

Based in Belgium, Nutriad supplies feed additives for ruminants, swine, poultry, aquaculture and pets to over 80 countries worldwide. Nutriad's Asia Regional Director BK Chew explain what drives this company and its strategy.
Can you share with us Nutriad's mission?

Nutriad's mission emphasises achieving our goals sustainably and profitably. As sustainability and profitability are both key to our customers, our business is customer-oriented, with product development focussed on natural ingredients as much as possible. Because of the growing pressure to reduce the use of antibiotics and food safety issues, natural solutions are increasingly in demand.

What are the biggest concerns of livestock producers these days?

Livestock producers are faced with high prices for grains such as corn, as a result of the drought in the United States, and also high soy prices. As ex-farm prices of livestock produce are tied to the economy, slowdown of the economy could depress ex-farm prices. In response to the challenges, Nutriad products are tailored to improve feed utilisation and gut development of livestock, and are made of quality ingredients to maximise the economics of different diets.
What are some trends which have affected the industry?

The pressure to limit medicated feed additives has a positive impact on our business due to the resulting increase in demand for non-medicated solutions. For instance, food safety issues like mycotoxin contamination of milk in China, Europe and the United States has put pressure on producers to be more aware of mycotoxin risks.

The increased concern about the risk of bacterial contamination with salmonella and campylobacter is also observed. The increase in consumers' concerns results in the decrease in the use of antibiotic growth promoters (AGPs). The availability of raw materials in the future to fulfil the growing demand for human food consumption is also of concern.
What sets Nutriad apart from your competitors?

Nutriad is a R&D company, first and foremost. Our team from the Innovations department makes regular visits to customers to find out the challenges they are facing and products are developed to address their problems and of course to improve their bottom lines.
Can you tell us more about your approach towards R&D?

Our R&D is driven by the goal to find sustainable and economical solutions to meet the needs of our customers. This is supported by our understanding of the internal processes of animals at a molecular level, that is, the how the active molecules in our products react in a cellular molecular level in the animal.

In fact, Nutriad is the first company to introduce coated butyrate, precision delivery coating technology. This "target release" technology allows us to deliver specific ingredients to the right regions in the intestinal tract where it can perform its function. We are also a forerunner in the multi-factorial mycotoxin inactivation approach to counter complex mycotoxin (co)-contaminations.
Which of your products has the greatest growth potential?
Some of our star products are Adimix for gut health, toxin inactivator Unike Plus and PowerSweet. We see huge potential growth particularly for Unike Plus- a broad spectrum toxin  inactivator.  The threats of mycotoxins are high and many types exist, from polar to non-polar, including many unknown toxins. Hence, a product which is broad spectrum, with multiple counter measures is absolutely necessary.

Mycotoxins can lead to depressed animal performance; increased susceptibility to diseases due to lowered immunity, liver/kidney damage and oxidative stress; feed refusal; and decreased reproduction. Moreover, the co-contamination of different mycotoxins creates a higher risk of adverse health and performance effects and can result in a higher risk of economic losses than a single contamination of mycotoxins. This is especially so if combined with additional stress factors at the farm.
Nutriad's products for swine are catered to the "genetically improved" pig. Why is that so?

The genetic potential of livestock is improving day by day, therefore the requirements of livestock producers are also changing. However, with genetic improvement, there is a higher risk of disturbances to the intestinal tract at the same time, resulting in lower performance and health problems. Nutriad products are designed to support this genetic potential.
Does Nutriad adapt its distribution strategy to local conditions?

In 2012, Nutriad started focusing on Vietnam's swine farm sector instead of the feed mill sector. In Vietnam, our structure is such that sales of our products to swine farms is handled by our distributor, while sales to feed mill is handled directly by Nutriad's technical support staff. Similarly, we will be targeting the farm sector in the Philippines.
What is Nutriad's expected growth in the next 3 to 5 years?
As of 2011, we expect annual growth of 25% in the next few years. The robust growth of Asia Pacific economies will result in higher protein consumption. Along with that, customers' knowledge of the benefits of Nutriad well-researched products will drive our growth.
Can you share with us more about your expansion strategy?
Nutriad acquired the largest spray facility in Europe in early 2000; acquired BFI to accelerate our global expansion and expertise in palatability in 2003; and integrated the feed specialties division of INVE Aquaculture into the company in 2009. Beyond the acquisitions in the last decade, looking ahead, our focus will be on improving and expanding our product range.

We will be investing in a new plant to boost capacity to fulfil our future plans. We will also be investing in high growth regions such as Asia and South America, specifically in India, China and Brazil and recruiting technical and commercial people to serve these markets. Lastly, we seek to improve service quality for our customers by investing in additional laboratory facilities in Belgium.
Are you expanding your manufacturing facilities in America, Europe or Asia? 

Earlier this year, we opened a new feed additive factory at the harbour of Antwerp, Belgium. In August, our laboratory in Kallo, Belgium became fully operational. We are looking at the possibility of expanding our production in China, despite its logistical challenges and market complexities.
How would you describe the competitive landscape over the next 5 to 10 years?
We expect more consolidation and strategic alliances in the name of efficiency. While the number of additive producers of additives will stay the same, the number of traders is expected to grow.
What other developments can we expect from Nutriad in the near future?

Looking at our product portfolio, we will increase focus on gut support programmes and also further develop our aquaculture range. In addition, we will continue to improve our coating technology and develop our brand identity.

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