The chief executive of Danish chocolate and extruded whipping cake emulsifiers major Palsgaard has outlined the reasons behind the company's recent significant investment in the Asia-Pacific region.
Currently, the company is on track to open a fully automated, 20,000-tonne emulsifier plant in Johor Bahru, Malaysia, by mid-2013 and bring integrated blends to dairy, ice cream, margarine and soya beverages over the next year.
Palsgaard has already invested in a regional application centre in Singapore worth more than US$8.2m for dairy, ice cream, soya, bakery and confectionery applications, and is planning on doing more in Asia. A pilot plant for margarine is also currently in the works.
Billions of consumers
“Much of the world's retail food and beverage activities are concentrated in Asia,” explained Jakob Thøisen, CEO of Palsgaard. "All research forecasts are pointing to per-capita incomes growing exponentially in Asia, hence creating more middle-class and upper-middle class people who are willing to spend.
"Imagine–we would have a consumer base here of several billion people. That constitutes a sizeable proportion of the world population."
Thøisen has been in Singapore as part of an Asia trip to introduce the new factory and its business implications to regional partners.
Following its global customers into Asia has worked well for Palsgaard, which has benefited greatly from the region even during difficult years. “We have seen double-digit growth of our business in this region, even during the financial and economic crises that took place in 1997 and in 2008,” said Romil Jagunap, managing director for the company's Asia-Pacific operations.
“Food manufacturers in Asia are getting increasingly sophisticated and more demanding. They want to produce high quality food products at a relatively low cost. Consumers here are also becoming more health conscious.”
The Palsgaard production facility in Johor Bahru will produce premium food emulsifiers that include distilled monoglycerides (DMG), sodium stearoyl-2-lactylate (SSL), propylene glycerol esters of fatty acids (PGMS), and mono- and di-glycerides (MDG).
The company has also extended its commitment to corporate social responsibility to Asia and aims to reduce its CO2 emissions to zero by 2020 at all its factories around the world, including the new operation in Malaysia.
Palsgaard also plans to source for raw materials, specifically palm oil, from suppliers who are members of the RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) and GreenPalm. The company is also working towards making at least 90% of its packaging recyclable.