An undisclosed investment from Asia’s largest agribusiness Wilmar International will enable US flavour giant Blue Pacific Flavors to focus on expanding its research capacities.
It will also strengthen its manufacturing footprint in China and Southeast Asia, the company said.
Terms of the recently signed agreement have not been announced, but Blue Pacific said that the capital injection from Wilmar will also allow it to extend an existing partnership with The New Zealand Institute of Plant & Food Research.
The US flavour company, focused on natural and organic-compliant, whole fruit and grain based food flavours, has been engaged in flavour research with the New Zealand institute for four years.
Dr Kiernan Elborough, general manager science for Food Innovation at Plant & Food Research, told FoodNavigator-Asia that the alliance has been involved in producing nature-identical flavours based on New Zealand fruit varieties.
Elborough added, “we have also identified the potential for this relationship to include the development of new functional foods and ingredients.”
Functional food research
Elborough noted that this area is an important focus for the food sector, particularly when working with Asia.
“Japan for example, it the second largest functional food market in the world, and scientific validation of functional ingredients is essential in the development of new products,” he said.
Elborough added that consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the added benefits that their food can provide.
Strengthening China and Southeast Asian presence
As well as providing resources for further research, the partnership with Wilmar will also drive growth in Blue Pacific’s manufacturing and distribution throughout China and Southeast Asia due to the Asian group’s strong supply chain network.
A spokesperson for Blue Pacific Flavors told this publication that it cannot comment further on the Wilmar deal so early on and in light of the competitive environment.
Wilmar specialises in oil refining and palm oil cultivation and has more than 300 manufacturing plants and a distribution network throughout China, India, Indonesia and another 50 countries.
Kuok Khoon Hong, Wilmar’s Chairman and CEO and Professor Chua Nam-Hai chief scientific advisor will join the board of directors at Blue Pacific as part of this partnership and the current CEO and chairman of Blue Pacific, Donald Wilkes, will retain his post.