Chr Hansen sales bucks Italian cultures trend

By Anthony Fletcher

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Chr hansen Italian cuisine

Chr Hansen is enjoying success in the Italian cultures market,
bucking the general trend of slow growth and stagnation.

It claims that the introduction of a new range of cultures last year has given the firm a solid foothold in the Italian sector, with sales increasing in what is a fairly stagnant market.

The company claims that sales have increased by 50 per cent within the past year.

"The Italian market for cultures is not an easy one, and I must admit that we have had a difficult time selling our dairy cultures,"​ said Marco Loguercio, Chr Hansen Italy dairy business manager.

However, Italy is the second largest market for cheese in Europe and therefore represents a vast number of opportunities. Loguercio sat down with his colleagues from France and Italy and analysed the situation in-depth.

"We found out that what we needed was a range of products that completely tailored our Italian customers needs and use of production technology,"​ he said. "And this of course we had to acknowledge and act upon."

Loguercio believes that it was the establishment of a firm working partnership strategy with customers that should be the door opener to Italian producers.

"There is absolutely no doubt that the best ideas are born when we work closely with our customers, so that was what we decided to do. A number of field tests were carried out at some of the biggest Italian cheese producers and monitored closely. These were followed by industrial production and product launch and we are now able to offer a range of customised cultures and solutions to the Italian market."

Chr Hansen claims that the new cultures have already proven their worth in terms of sales. The company's sales of dairy cultures in Italy has grown by 50 per cent, in stark contrast to the rest of the Italian market which has not shown any growth at all.

"In the past years, we've been working hard to secure our position on the Italian market,"​ said Loguercio. "Now, our efforts have paid off, partly because we've been able to offer improved product varieties, partly because we are working closely with our customers."

The Danish ingredients firm has also been looking at opportunities in the Italian meat cultures sector. The company has already tapped into a new trend in the local meat industry - an increasingly high number of Italian meat manufacturers are using starter cultures as a means to optimise the production process.

Another opportunity for further growth is the bioprotective cultures market. These cultures are designed to help prevent the growth of Listeria and spoilage bacteria in meats, and are claimed to be more efficient than chemicals.

"It is crucial that we have been highly innovative while working interactively with our clients, specially when they are in need of products or solutions that aren't readily available on the market,"​ said Franco Franzoni, business manager for meat & prepared food in Italy.

"There is no doubt that with our application laboratories we are well-positioned in the Italian market, and therefore I anticipate that the strong growth in Italy will be sustainable."

Chr Hansen claims it is now the world's largest supplier of cultures and natural colours, and has acquired an increasingly larger international market share over the past couple of years.

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