NUQO©'s novel plant ingredients gain positive market feedback
France-based NUQO which was founded earlier this year, develops and promotes natural ingredients and feed additives to improve animal performance and health. The company currently has a presence in Europe and Asia. eFeedLink finds out more from the founding team at NUQO - Ewenn Helary, CEO; Dr. Stéphanie Ladirat, technology director; Guillaume Etave, commercial director - on what new technologies the company is bringing to the table.

(From left: Guillaume Etave, commercial director; Dr. Stéphanie Ladirat, technology director; Ewenn Helary, CEO; NUQO)

eFeedLink: The establishment of new companies during this difficult period serves as an inspiration on how technological innovation continues to strengthen resilience in the feed and livestock sector. Please highlight some recent developments from NUQO.

Guillaume Etave: Our company is headquartered in France, with our staff and our production sites located in few different countries across Europe, and now with one first office in Southeast Asia. As part of our development strategy, we have identified several markets in which we will establish a NUQO team. This strategy is closely linked to our desire to promote better support and greater proximity. These are key elements and even more relevant in the current health situation. Our priorities are based on market potential, economic and regulatory environment, technical expectations of the market, competitive landscape, but at the end of the day, it all starts with people. Thailand is a great example; it's a technical and demanding market with substantial potential and we had the network and connections to gather a great team there, experienced professionals with very good knowledge of the market and who are very customer-oriented. Of course, setting up a new branch abroad was not particularly easy because of the pandemic, but our colleagues in Thailand made a great job to make it successful at the end.

NUQO's core technologies are in the area of phytogenics and phycogenics. Please tell us what unique technologies NUQO is bringing to the industry.

Dr. Stéphanie Ladirat: Our uniqueness relies on two pillars. The first pillar is our library of ingredients. We are pioneers in the field of marine algae and we perform research to identify, source and combine bioactive molecules from land plants (phytogenics) and/or marine plants (phycogenics). We don't necessarily look at algae as a source of nutrients, we actually look for metabolites with potential impact on physiology. The second pillar is our complementary set of manufacturing technologies. NUQO has extensive knowledge of technologies to produce the most suitable solutions. Thanks to our experts and production sites, we can select and adapt the right method for optimal application, to increase stability of molecules, to control physical properties and to guarantee the adequate release of our products. Regarding phycogenics, we saw that specific drying temperature and encapsulation technology were needed to ensure high quality and stability of metabolites.

What are NUQO's product lines for different species?
Dr. Stéphanie Ladirat: We need to mention some very unique products that were developed thanks to our expertise and our database of ingredients: NUQO NEX is a micro-encapsulated combination of phytogenics and phycogenics, specifically designed for poultry production. NUQO SAFE is an upgraded solution for monogastrics, designed to maintain performance during challenging times. NUQO YUMMY is a very unique product that stimulates feed intake of young animals. Finally, NUQO FLEX is a natural antioxidant solution that contains a unique combination of phytogenics and phycogenics and that can be used as a tool by nutritionists to optimise feed formulations. Multiple trials made with third parties or universities have demonstrated the efficacy of our products, to support the performance, the health or the welfare of animals and help our customers to meet their objectives. We also offer a comprehensive range of flavors (NUQO SENSE) as well as toxin binders (NUQO FIX) and blends of organic trace minerals (NUQO MIN).

NUQO NEX, a micro-encapsulated combination of phytogenics and phycogenics
How have customers responded to these product offerings from a young company like NUQO, particularly at a time when feed mills and farms are very concerned about their bottom line?
Dr. Stéphanie Ladirat: Our approach relies on close proximity with customers and local teams, such as NUQO Thailand. Thanks to the uniqueness of our ingredients and/or of our technologies, we can communicate in a very transparent manner about our products formulation and the efficacy of each ingredient. In return, customers and local teams share more openly what they really need which gives us an advantage to design the next NUQO concepts. Our customers care about their bottom line, as well as the safety and the quality of their feed and its final efficacy at the farm level. With our approach based on transparency, we can really present to our customers the details of our technologies and exchange with them about the optimal application of our solutions in their feed.
Ewenn Helary: To specifically answer your question, we actually experience a nice feedback from the market. Customers appreciate the fact that we come with some unique ingredients, that we present manufacturing technologies that are quite innovative in our field and finally the fact that we really explain our approach with much transparency and candour. This really helps us to better understand the needs of our customers and in return it helps the customers to understand how our solutions can finally meet their expectations.
In the broader context of global sustainability, climate change, and increasing emphasis on both the provenance and quality of feed supplies, please share with us more about how NUQO is supporting your feed mill and farm customers in their efforts.
Ewenn Helary: Our strategy is based on three fundamental values: independence, transparency and sustainability; our generation needs to produce things in a way that does not use resources that cannot be replaced and that does not damage the environment. We favour ingredients and materials that we can source from a sustainable supply chain. Moreover, in our R&D pipeline, we give higher priority to projects that can support the sustainability of the feed industry, for instance to create alternatives to chemical growth promoters or to develop solutions that reduce the environmental footprint of the livestock industry. In the end, we try to target superior ecological sustainability in combination with sound economic viability, to really help feed mills and farmers in their efforts. We believe we must never forget the founding values of our company, which are the lifeblood of hope for us, the future generations, and the world.
In recent times, we have seen quite a number of large corporates acquiring smaller, specialty feed additive companies, with the aim of integrating their product portfolios. How would NUQO continue to ensure its product solutions remain comprehensive and cost-effective for customers across their supply chains?
Ewenn Helary: We have indeed observed a deep change of our industry during the last decade, especially in the space of feed additives, with few large corporations integrating smaller players to expand their capabilities. This creates of course some conflicts of interest for customers, and generates more pressure for traditional players mixing mainstream ingredients and distributing "black boxes". In the end, we will for sure see more integrated companies, and in the meantime, still few independent players with original core technologies with clear added-value and differentiation. We truly believe this is a great opportunity for the development of our company, because of our unique technologies and our transparent approach.
As NUQO rapidly expands globally, with new partnerships planned for 2020, do you have any words for our readers?
Guillaume Etave: We see that the world of animal nutrition is on the move, standards are evolving and consumer expectations too: better sustainable efficiency is required from all of us. This requires the production chain as a whole to support and anticipate these movements. We are still fortunate, in the current global sanitary situation, to be an essential industry working in trust and proximity – two values carried by NUQO. The strong local partnerships that we are building and our fully dedicated and committed teams support this movement. This suggests good perspectives and a continuation of our current expansion. New partnerships and establishments are being developed in the two major regions for NUQO, which are Europe and Asia, but also, in parallel, on other continents.

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