Rivals up menthol capacity to meet gum makers' demands

By Oliver Nieburg

- Last updated on GMT

BASF's current menthol operation
BASF's current menthol operation

Related tags Confectionery

Menthol supplier BASF plans to open a new factory this summer to meet demands from confectioners soon after its rival Symrise boosted its own capacity earlier this month.

BASF will produce L-menthol from a new site in Ludwighafsen, Germany. Although it does not supply menthol to confectioners directly, one of its main customer bases are flavour and fragrance houses that supply menthol formulations to chewing gum and mint manufacturers.

BASF’s new L-menthol plant

Leticia Jiménez-Buil, global communications Nutrition & Health at BASF, told ConfectioneryNews.com that the annual growth rate for menthol stood at 5-8%

“There is a huge demand from confectionery manufacturers and many other markets,”​ she said.

“We see growth in all industries, and this ​[Confectionery] is definitely one of them,”​ she continued.

BASF also serves other industries’ menthol needs, including oral and body care and pharmaceuticals.

The company claims that its new site will be the world’s largest L-menthol production plant, but it refused to comment on the plant’s capacity.

BASF’s menthol capacity is based upon citral, which is present in the oil of lemons. L-menthol can be used in any food application where a fresh mint flavour is needed, particularly in products such as chewing gum and confectionery mints.

Symrise expansion

BASF’s new plant comes soon after rival Symrise upped its L-menthol production with a €16 million expansion to its Holzminden plant, also in Germany.

Symrise has said that the expansion will allow it to double its production volumes.

Norbert Richter, head of the global business unit for molecules at Symrise previously said that Symrise served “about 30% of world demand” ​for synthetic menthol (L-menthol). ​He said that Symrise was the major manufacturer of synthetic menthol in Europe, but predicted that the market would heat up as competitors entered the fray.

The company is slightly different to BASF in that as well as manufacturing menthol, it also provides menthol formulations directly to confectioners as a flavour house.

Related topics Manufacturers Gum

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