Chr Hansen tour targets probiotics growth

By Anthony Fletcher

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Chr hansen Innovation

Chr Hansen's latest Magical Sensory Tour is designed to bring
innovative products to customers and underline the company's ethos
that ingredients can be fun and imaginative.

The Denmark-based firm is travelling on a customised tour bus through Germany, Holland and France this November, and plans to finish up at the Food Ingredients Europe (FIE) fair in Paris on the 29th.

"There is no doubt that the best ideas are born when we work closely with our customers,"​ said Thomas Reiner, country manager for Chr Hansen in Germany.

"This is why we now embark on this Magical Tour. On this tour we will greet our customers with a truckload of innovation and in turn, learning from them, we hope to return home with even more."

Green mozzarella and probiotic ice cream are among the dairy-based products on display. Chr Hansen argues that an increasingly large number of consumers are demanding natural alternatives, such as low fat cheeses, probiotic yoghurts as well as soft drinks and confectionary products with natural colours.

"Is it clear that the companies that will win future market share will be those creating innovative and exciting products capable of surprising and challenging our senses,"​ said the company in a press release.

Indeed Arnaud Steiger, country manager, for Chr Hansen in France, believes that this trend is becoming crystal clear. Innovative solutions are therefore essential in order to stand out from the mass of competitors.

"This creative way of promoting Chr Hansen's product line is a new and unique means of demonstrating how we together with our clients can create innovative products and solutions,"​ he said. "It is in the dialogue with customers - by joining our expertise with theirs - that truly unique ideas are conceived and developed."

Chr Hansen also points out that many creative people do not get the opportunity to go to the major international trade events, and that in any case, it is difficult to truly communicate a company's vision at many of these shows. The tour is therefore a means by which the firm can market its products and vision, and also see first hand the opportunities available in individual countries.

An earlier tour this spring underlined how effective this strategy could be.

"This was a very unique idea of promotion - really refreshing and original,"​ said Dr Michael Erdl, director R&D & quality for Campina in Heilbronn, Germany.

"It was a convenient way to obtain ample information on Chr. Hansen's very broad product range and get good insight on the many opportunities within the area of product development."

Probiotics, identified by Chr Hansen as a key growth sector, form a major part of the sensory tour. The European market is set to more than triple in value over the next few years, according to Frost & Sullivan, to reach $137.9 million (€118.5m) in 2010.

Growth, however, has been a little patchy, with Scandinavian consumers showing far more willingness to accept probiotic foods.

Chr Hansen however is confident of healthy expansion across the continent. The company recently developed a new, flexible formulation system using Tetra Pak's aseptic dosing machine Flex Dos for adding probiotics directly to finished products.

The technology allows the bacteria to be added to liquids just before they are filled into cartons. The firm hopes that innovation could significantly boost the market for probiotic beverages, which have so far been restricted by the delicate nature of the ingredient and concerns over contamination.

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