Kerry opens expanded fermented ingredients US facility, boosts coatings business in Europe

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28 Jun 2018 --- Taste & Nutrition company, Kerry, is celebrating the US$28.6 million expansion of its facility in Rochester, Minnesota. This project increases manufacturing capacity at the state-of-the-art facility and includes the addition of a new spray dryer and two 10,000 gallon dryer feed tanks. Groundbreaking for the expansion commenced in April 2017 and a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held at the facility yesterday (June 27).

Kerry’s Rochester facility produces naturally-derived fermented ingredients utilized by manufacturers to deliver fresh taste over the shelf-life of bakery products, deli meats, prepared meals, dairy and various other food and beverage products. The increasing market demand for clean label, transparent preservation methods, driven by consumer interest, is the key driver behind Kerry’s investment in Rochester. 

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Left to right: Neil Cracknell, President of Functional Ingredients and Actives
at Kerry and Mayor Ardell Brede of Rochester, MN cutting the ribbon.

Bryce Nesberg, Human Resources Manager at Kerry’s facility in Rochester, explains: “We have already seen the uplift in production from this expansion. Each week, our products leave the plant with delivery labels across North America and around the world. The increased production capacity means we will add more skilled and scientific roles in our existing employee base of 125 people in the Rochester area.”

Commenting on the expansion of the Kerry Rochester facility, Mike Mathews, VP of Business Development – Fermented Ingredients, says: “This expansion allows us to produce more of our naturally-derived, clean label ingredients which help ensure the fresh-keeping of foods. Over the past few years, demand for these ingredients has grown exponentially. This is a direct result of consumers looking more and more, for natural foods that are free of artificial preservatives. At Kerry, our taste and nutrition experts work with customers to utilize Accel, DuraFresh and UpGrade natural food protection ingredients to deliver great tasting foods which remain fresh over their shelf life. With our increased capacity, we are looking forward to bringing our naturally-derived, clean label, fermented ingredients to many more consumers.”

Consumers all over the world are increasingly reading food labels and questioning what is in their food, who made it and where it came from. They are looking to remove artificial ingredients and preservatives from their diet and replace them with natural ingredients that they recognize. This is the underlying trend that is driving high demand for Kerry’s naturally-derived, fermented ingredients which serve to protect the safety and great taste of foods over their shelf-life.

The “clean label” term has been around for a few years and it continues to gain momentum with consumers. Clean label is more than ingredients and claims. It means better ingredients that are safe, nutritious and even eco-friendly. “Clean label is an undeniable transformation of the food industry,” Matthews tells FoodIngredientsFirst.

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Kerry employees in front of the two new towers of the expansion

“To build on Kerry’s knowledge of clean label, we recently conducted proprietary international consumer research with over 2,000 consumers across the globe. This research aimed to pinpoint consumer specific drivers as they relate to clean label and to understand the commercial opportunities related to those drivers.”

“Our research revealed that the most powerful claim that resonated with the clean label consumer is ‘all natural/100 percent natural’ followed by ‘non-GMO,’ ‘no additives/no artificial preservatives,’ ‘organic’ and ‘made with real ingredients.’”

The research also identified that 75 percent of consumers are willing to pay more for food with a cleaner label, a figure which was even higher with millennials, where 88 percent were willing to pay more.

Kerry offers a broad range of natural ingredients that are highly effective at protecting the fresh-keeping of food while maintaining great taste, according to the company.

These include brands of Accel, natural cures for meat, UpGrade, natural mold inhibitors for bakery applications and DuraFresh for fresh, natural keeping of dairy and meat applications. 

“To meet all our customer needs, we have organic and non-GMO versions of these ingredients, which are all produced through a natural fermentation process at our state of the art manufacturing facility at Rochester, Minnesota. Through the use of natural, food protection ingredients, Kerry customers can provide consumers with safe, great tasting foods that do not contain artificial preservatives including non-GMO and organic options,” states Matthews. 

Kerry boosts coating business with German manufacturing site investment
Meanwhile, Kerry has announced a significant investment in its Wittstock breadcrumb manufacturing site, located in north-western Brandenburg, Heiligengrabe in Germany. 

The investment includes the addition of a new crumb baking line and a warehouse extension, which will double the output volume to 48,000 tons per year. This will enable a faster and more efficient replenishment lead time for our customers in a demanding market. The site will also be increasing its employee base by 13 percent to support its new capacity levels.

Kerry has been monitoring the European coatings market closely and anticipates growing demand for a range of great-tasting and better-for-you solutions, including VLOG (non-GMO) and gluten-free crumb. Kerry’s coating capability spans across categories from meal centers to appetizers and across proteins from poultry and seafood, to pork and plant protein. Understanding regional flavor and format preferences is a key initiative which means that along with the increased capacity. The Wittstock site will also allow Kerry to deliver product innovation and enable high-quality simultaneously, production at scale, for its customers to suit their respective markets.

“Kerry’s investment in this key manufacturing site demonstrates our commitment to serving customers with growing coatings needs,” says Philip O’Connor, Meat Business President at Kerry Taste & Nutrition. 

“We work closely with customers to ensure their consumers’ taste and nutrition expectations continue to be exceeded and that processing volumes and timelines can be adhered to efficiently. With our continuing efforts to expand our capabilities, combined with our 40+ years of taste expertise, we are confident in our ability to meet the increasing demand for innovative coating solutions in the region,” he concludes.

By Elizabeth Green

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