December 1, 2020
Bioiberica is a global life science company with human, animal and plant health products. Founded in 1975 and based in Barcelona, Spain, Bioiberica Animal Nutrition specializes in supporting the immune system and intestinal health of farm livestock and aquaculture species.
The company's Palbio product range, high quality protein sources obtained by enzymatic hydrolysis of porcine intestinal mucosa, increases livestock feed intake and digestibility. Its Nucleoforce product range, a concentrate of free nucleotides, provides the necessary nutrients for the correct development of the immune and digestive system in young animals.
eFeedLink speaks to Xavier Córdoba, Bioiberica Animal Nutrition director to talk about the company's stance on antibiotic reduction in animal health, feed safety, its international expansion, as well as sustainability measures.
1. In the recent annual report on the European Surveillance of Veterinary Antimicrobial Consumption (ESVAC) published by European Medicines Agency (EMA), overall sales of veterinary antibiotics in European countries dropped by more than 34% between 2011 and 2018. What is Bioiberica's stance on antibiotic reduction from the perspective of animal health and welfare? (For example, Nucleoforce provides the necessary nutrients for the correct development of the immune and digestive system.)
Bioiberica Animal Nutrition has always pushed for high-quality and functional ingredients that can help and support the health of production animals through nutrition. Our focus has always been to support intestinal health and immune activity that can help prevent the onset of diseases, which could eventually lead to a loss of performance.
Thanks to the high digestibility of our hydrolysed proteins, Palbio, this decreases significantly the amount of fermentable and non-digested protein in the intestines which will avoid many diarrheal episodes and bacteria colonisation. Furthermore, because of the hydrolysis performed in our product, we have identified a series of functional and bioactive peptides (small protein fragments) in our proteins. These natural compounds are interesting, and we have gathered enough evidence about their positive effect on intestinal development and health promoters.
Our other brand, Nucleoforce, also has an important role to play. Nucleotides are known for their role on immune development and maturation in early ages is well understood. A well-developed and functional immune system will have beneficial effects in case of disease or infection.
Functional and bioactive products are Bioiberica's expertise and using these kinds of ingredients could fit very well with the antibiotic-reduction strategy that is becoming more and more necessary worldwide.
2. The Food and Agriculture Association of the United Nations has highlighted feed safety as a global concern, especially as livestock feed can be the source of a number of infections for farm animals that can lead to human illness. We also understand that Bioiberica is part of the SARIA Group, an international manufacturer of products for human health and consumption, animal nutrition and agriculture. It also produces renewable energy and, via the use of animal co-products and organic waste as the main raw material. How does Bioiberica ensure traceability and quality control throughout the production process for your animal health products?
Biosafety and sustainability are our main pillars at Bioiberica. All our products, production processes, and strategy are based these pillars. Bioiberica is a circular bioeconomy company: We recycle, reuse, and revalorise byproducts from the food industry to create products of high added value for the animal feed industry. For example, Bioiberica is among the major global manufacturers of heparin, a pharmaceutical ingredient which is extracted from porcine intestinal mucosa. Heparin is a by-product from slaughterhouses we utilise that would otherwise pollute the environment. Palbio, our hydrolysed proteins, comes from this manufacturing process. We understand very well the origin of our materials and the industries where our products are directed. Biosafety and sustainability are the most important thing for our company.
In terms of biosafety, we have a unique manufacturing process (6-Tier Safety) in the industry to guarantee that our hydrolysed proteins cannot be transmission vectors of viral, prion and bacterial diseases. This scheme combines raw material control and traceability with production processes, where enzymatic hydrolysis plays a key role to guarantee the absolute safety of our products.
3. Bioberica has three pillars - in addition to animal health, the company also produces products for human health and plant health. Are there any synergies between the three, such as from a One Health perspective?
Bioiberica operates as a circular bioeconomy company. Our animal nutrition, human health, and plant health divisions are integrated. Our plant health division develops solutions for fertilising the fields, which creates feed for the animals. The animals, specifically swine, are fed with feed added with Palbio, our hydrolysed proteins from our animal nutrition division. Then the swine is slaughtered, resulting in intestinal mucosa which we use to produce heparin, which is playing a major role in our fight against COVID-19 for our human health division. This shows how our company is completely integrated, not vertically but as a circular bioeconomy company.
4. In August, Bioiberica announced a strategic agreement with Distrivet for the exclusive distribution of the Nucleoforce range in Spain. Recently, Bioiberica announced a strategic agreement with Barentz for the exclusive distribution of the Palbio and Nucleoforce animal nutrition lines in Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Great Britain, and Ireland.
What is Bioiberica's international expansion strategy for its products? What are some of the company's export and service activities in Asia, if any, and what can customers look forward in the near future?
Bioiberica is a company that exports around 70% to 80% of its production, with an eye on the internationalisation of our products. In our Animal Nutrition sector, we are strong traditionally in Spain and Asia with our hydrolysed proteins, and recently we have increased our activities in LATAM.
At this moment, we are focusing in the promotion with our products in Central, East and North Europe. For this reason, we have appointed a trusted partner, Barentz. Furthermore, we are focused in promoting our other family of products: Nucleoforce. Nucleoforce has a very strong presence in niche markets like the salmon and shrimp industry, but there is still a lot to do to get the product to livestock markets like swine or poultry. Thanks to our agreement with Distrivet, we believe we can start exploring these options in Spain and bring our experience to the other markets in the world.
As for Asia, we have a presence in Taiwan, South Korea, mainland China, as well as southeast Asia, in Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, and recently in Indonesia.
5. How has COVID-19 affected Bioiberica and its customers' operations, and (if so) what has the company done to overcome the challenges caused by the pandemic?
Bioiberica is a life science company and its activities are considered essential. Because of that, our activities have not stopped during the pandemic. Our commitment is to continue to manufacture all our products and ingredients, either pharmaceutical, nutritional, or for plant health.
We have kept our operations and services running to the maximum and have tried to give the best service possible, as always. Like everybody else, we have had to reinvent ourselves and find new ways of doing business to expand and grow. I think we can be very proud of the positive outcome of the company during these last months.
6. What can customers look forward to from Bioiberica especially when it comes to the company's sustainability measures and its actions to address changing market conditions (e.g. environmental sustainability and food provenance)?
We all know that world population is growing, and protein demand will continue to rise. We also know, unfortunately, that the world is on its way to collapse in terms of resources, environment, and climate change.
It is quite clear that we must follow a common strategy as an industry towards sustainability, safety, and efficiency. Only if we can continue production in a sustainable way, such as recycling and reusing safe raw materials, and increasing the quality and efficiency of our products, that we will be able to reduce our waste while producing more protein in a cleaner and safer way.
Bioiberica has been practising sustainability for a long time, and we are glad to lead the way. We are constantly exploring how to improve all our processes and products to continue to be more sustainable.
7. In terms of animal nutrition, what can customers look forward to from Bioiberica in the next five years, along with evolving market conditions?
While Bioiberica animal nutrition is very focused in pig nutrition, we are looking to expand our activities in poultry nutrition to introduce our products to Muslim countries, such as Indonesia. With that in mind, it is necessary for us to develop products that are well accepted by the Muslim market.