Agrana Fruit CEO: Botanicals continue to grow, driven by need from millennials

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20 Nov 2017 --- Agrana Fruit is established as a world market leader for fruit solutions for the dairy industry. The company does, however, have a much broader product portfolio and is also specialized in a wide range of diverse and innovative solutions for other categories and channels such as the ice cream, bakery and foodservice industries. Alongside a range of fruit solutions, Agrana Fruit is also a specialist in brown flavor preparations, preparations with inclusion ingredients, cereals and savory preparations.

With the acquisition of Main Process in Argentina last year, Agrana Fruit added an additional product portfolio and subsequently the know-how to produce syrups for cocktails and coffee with special packaging solutions for their customers. According to CEO, Jos Kleppers, this diversification strategy combined with vertical integration through strategic farmers strengthens their position as a natural fruit expert. Therefore Agrana Fruit is also able to supply the utmost quality of frozen fruit.

As a result, Agrana Fruit is positioned as the preferred innovation partner for various food segments and translates this goal into daily efforts across functions and geographies.

Speaking to FoodIngredientsFirst, Kleppers says: “We are playing a two-fold strategy in the area of fruit and dairy solutions. On one hand, we are looking at expanding geographically into emerging markets that are interesting to us. Here we can see a growing trend towards value-added food products. This year we acquired a fruit processing plant in India. There we saw a growing demand for our products due to rising purchasing power and changes in consumer behavior patterns.”

“Customers in these regions can also benefit from our global network and long-term expert experience,” he continues, “On the other hand we are focusing on securing and even expanding our market share in mature markets, like in Europe and the US, by investing in our innovation capabilities in order to offer the most inspiring and innovative solutions to our customers.”

Click to Enlarge“Keeping up with the latest trends is very important for us at Agrana Fruit,” explains Kleppers. “We use our global network of specialists to monitor the hottest trends around the world. In our latest Agrana Fruit trend blog we feature, among others, street food inspired flavors and explain how they project a feeling of authenticity and the appeal of artisanal handiwork to foodies looking for new experiences.”

“In mature markets, the existing trend towards natural products with simple and understandable ingredients is getting stronger and stronger,” he adds.

Also, the trend towards vegetable and botanical solutions continues to grow. This is very much driven by the younger generation, according to Kleppers. “Especially millennials are interested in herbs in various food categories including sweets and desserts,” he adds.

The “high protein” trend is still very strong across many product categories. This goes hand in hand with the increasing interest in ancient seeds and grains, like chia and quinoa, which are a natural source of high protein. “Particularly in emerging markets, consumers love indulgent creamy tastes like brown flavors,” says Kleppers.

“Clean label trends have become a standard,” he confirms.  Consumers in mature countries are making more informed food choices when buying products. They are more aware of ingredients and production methods.

“As a result, we as a global player have the mandate to run development programs in terms of social, environmental and financial sustainability. Amongst others, this translates into sustainable farming concepts with our integrated suppliers. Also, the trend towards dairy alternative products has gained momentum,” he states. “Nowadays consumers are convinced of the advantages of plant-based dairy substitutes. A few years ago dairy alternatives were mainly associated with soymilk, but today you can see a wide variety of new and exciting products across different categories, featuring ingredients like almond, coconut, lupin and hemp.”

“We are investing in new product lines for existing markets in order to globally extend our product portfolio, by doing so we can offer our customers around the globe new and exciting solutions. We like to be close to our customers, therefore Agrana Fruit has production facilities in 20 countries. Our customers can benefit from our global network, which provides the perfect combination of global and local expertise.”

Agrana Fruit is capitalizing on the newly acquired capabilities and expertise of Main Process in Argentina. In South East Asia, Agrana Fruit is running a B2B2C strategy for their fruit preparations for drinks, especially cocktails, which are used in quick service restaurants, bars and hotels.

Through Agrana Fruit’s increased global reach, not only is the company able to serve their customers with their extensive range of products, they can also benefit from the local fruit sources and incorporate these inside their global sourcing organization. “For example, our new production units in India and Argentina are giving us access to a new local client base as well as additional raw material markets to serve our worldwide customer needs in various fruit varieties,” Kleppers notes.  

As a result of extensive reach and strong growth history, there are not a lot of untapped areas left for Agrana Fruit. However, the ones still showing potential are parts of South East Asia, Central Africa and Japan, all of which Agrana Fruit is already working on.

What can we expect to see from Agrana Fruit in 2018? “Our focus is the further development of innovations and our product portfolio as well as geographical expansion,” notes Kleppers. “We direct our efforts towards a stronger global exchange of know-how and a continued analysis of untapped market potential,” he finalizes.  

By Elizabeth Green

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