Plant-based boost: Roquette appoints Azelis in distribution deal for European food and nutrition markets

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05 Nov 2018 --- Plant-based ingredients specialist Roquette and Azelis have signed a distribution agreement for the Food and Nutrition markets. The agreement initially covers Germany, Austria and the Nordic and Baltic countries, before expanding further in the new year. The partnership – which will also include south Italy, Russia, Ukraine, and other Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) as of January 1, 2019 – optimizes Roquette’s global distribution network for its plant-based ingredients.

The French-based company reports that it has chosen Azelis as one of its preferred distributors because of its market presence and formulation development. Roquette also highlights the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) efforts as a crucial point in its decision. 

This distribution agreement enables the Group to optimize its distribution network and both companies share a focus on innovation and technical service to customers based on expert knowledge in business support. The two companies also share a philosophy of sustainable development, transparency and constructive collaboration. 

The move follows several recent announcements in plant-based proteins at Roquette. Last month, Roquette acquired a Netherlands-based facility from Texpall B.V. specialized in the extrusion of plant-based proteins. The group says it wants to expand its range of premium textured plant-based ingredients for the global meat alternatives market. Roquette also made its first agreement and investment in Israel, when it signed a partnership agreement with breeding technology company Equinom for the development and sourcing of new pea varieties with high-protein content. In addition to this new collaboration, Roquette and Equinom’s current shareholder Fortissimo Capital will jointly invest US$4 million in the company to support its further development. In the summer, Roquette expanded its textured pea protein portfolio as meat substitutes demand intensifies and in response to fast-growing flexitarian trends. Roquette said it had improved its grade of NUTRALYS T70S, the company’s textured pea protein, suitable for both vegetarian and vegan applications.

Roquette’s sustainable development approach consists of innovating, sourcing, acting and bio-refining sustainably, while Azelis was recently awarded a gold rating by EcoVadis, putting the company in the top 1 percent of all surveyed distributors. 

“Roquette is committed to providing its customers with good, reliable plant-based ingredients and vegetable proteins, as well as an excellent level of service. It has strong growth ambitions to better serve its customers in Food, Nutrition and Health markets worldwide. Thus, one of the main criteria for the distributor selection was Azelis’ ability to demonstrate how we would improve growth, profitability and productivity with them,” says Laurent Cousin, Head of Global Distribution Management at Roquette. 

“Transparency, technical capabilities and a good market presence also played a significant role. In all these areas, Azelis demonstrated high standards of professionalism and dedication, so the choice for us was clear.” 

“We are confident that Azelis’ customer intimacy will provide us with great insights on market trends which are often dictated by the medium-sized customers that they serve. This is critical for further product development and innovation.”

Azelis runs 55 application laboratories around the world, of which 16 are dedicated to local food & health markets in Belgium, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, India, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Morocco, Poland, Romania, Russia, Turkey, Ukraine and the UK. 

“We are very excited about this new partnership for two reasons: firstly, it perfectly complements our current portfolio in food & health, strengthening our position in Europe; secondly, it is a wonderful recognition of our technical capabilities, the quality of our sales force and our CSR efforts,” adds Evy Hellinckx, Strategy and Business Development Director EMEA Azelis.

“I am pleased to see not only a good business rationale but also an excellent fit when it comes to methods of collaboration, transparency, organizational alignment and hands-on approach. All the negotiations have been done in an exceptionally pleasant and constructive atmosphere and I am confident that many successes will come out of it.”

Investments & agreements
The last few months have been a busy period for Roquette. As well as the series of agreements and investments in plant-based proteins, in September, Roquette completed the acquisition of Sethness Products Company, a leader in the production of caramel colors for food and beverage applications, further leveraging both companies' global capabilities in caramel colors. 

Azelis has also developed its distribution deals with other companies. During October, Azelis extended its distribution agreement with Merck, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world, and has agreed to partner up for distribution in the Russian CASE, personal care and food & health markets. The extension of the distribution agreement widens the product portfolio with first class pigments, active ingredients and high-quality chemical raw materials which enables our customers to create world-class products.

Also in October, Azelis expanded its distribution agreement with Agrana Starch in personal care for their range of starches, while the company has also stepped up its market presence in Indonesia with a Jakarta office. Azelis also recently entered into a distribution partnership with CP Kelco to offer their carrageenan, pectin, gellan gum and xanthan gum products for the food segment in Indonesia. Finally in May, Azelis bolstered its position in the Nordic market by snapping up Ingredi.

By Gaynor Selby

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