Heiko Zipp, the firm’s director of business team nutrition, said the Singapore lab had brought its ingredients application capabilities closer to the market had resulted in concrete business successes.
However, he noted that the market in China differed greatly to that of South East Asia, leading the company to invest in a new lab in Shanghai.
“Singapore was the first step,” he told us at the recent FI Asia show in Bangkok. “But that is still a long way from China. That’s why by the middle of 2018 we will open our first food and nutrition application lab in China, in Shanghai.”
“We have considerable business in China already, but we know from our Singapore lab that having the ability to work with customers on the ground to see how our ingredients can be applied to their products is very important.”
The German firm is perhaps best known for its silicones and polymers for the contruction and engineering industries.
A good year
When it opened its Singapore lab in November 2016, it said its biosolutions business – which includes supplements and food products – was responsible for only 5% of its global US$5.9bn sales.
While it hopes the increased investment will increase this, Zipp said he was unable to provide figures for its food and nutrition growth in APAC at this stage, but added it was “having a good year”.
“Of course, there is always room to improve,” he added. “But we are very happy with our performance all over the world.”
The company was using the show as a platform to show how its Cyclodextrins - ring-shaped sugar molecules (oligosaccharides) – can replace animal-based emulsifiers and flavours for vegetarian mayonnaises, ready meals and desserts.
It also discussed how bitter catechins contained in green tea can be bound in the inner cavity of a gamma-cyclodextrin, so that the taste is no longer perceived by the consumer.
As well as being anti-inflammatory, catechins are thought to play a role in cholesterol and weight management, and even in cancer prevention.
Wacker says Cyclodextrins offer an attractive way of masking a natural health-promoting food ingredient that would otherwise taste unpleasant, avoiding high doses of sugar or artificial sweeteners.
In the supplement space, the firm was presenting the findings of an independent double-blind crossover clinical study performed in the USA, which compared the relative absorption of its CAVACURMIN (gammadextrin-curcumin formulation) product with pure curcumin extract (95%) and two commercially available curcumin preparations designed to increase bioavailability.
After oral ingestion of the substance, the blood of the study participants was analysed at regular intervals over 12 hours.
Wacker sys CAVACURMIN was absorbed approximately 40 times more efficiently than the standard extract, and at least 4.6 times better than the next best comparable commercial product.