Christian Bumm, managing director of Mikro-Technik, said: "The collaborative effort will enable Mikro-Technik to expand in the food market while allowing us to remain focused on our core fibre development and manufacturing competencies."
For SunOpta, the agreement represents a diversification of its existing range of healthy fibres for the food industry, which to date as included ingredients derived from oat, soy and other agricultural raw materials. Mikro-Technik's line will be carry the SunOpta brand name in the US market.
Moreover Art McEvily, president of SunOpta Ingredients, said that the company has been seeking to increase its presence in the international arena; a deal with a German supplier thus enhances its global perspective.
According to the Canadian company, sales of oat fibre products are "growing rapidly", both in North America and internationally. In response to this, it has announced capacity increases at its facilities in Iowa and Kentucky, USA.
According to a recent market report, the entire fiber market in the US was worth $192.8 million in 2004, $176.2 million of which is insoluble fiber and $16.6 million soluble. But while Frost and Sullivan predicts overall growth to $470 million by 2011, the soluble fiber sector is expected to increase by almost twice the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) compared to insoluble fiber - 26.3 percent compared to 13.1 percent. This balance is in sharp contrast to the European and Japanese markets, where soluble already has a greater share.