Trisco Foods targets supplement growth for elderly in APAC with latest acquisition
The brands, which were bought from Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Co for an undisclosed amount, produce dietary supplements for the elderly.
This adds to Trisco's line of liquid thickeners, called Precise Thick-N INSTANT, which was launched in 2014 for seniors suffering from dysphagia, a disorder that makes swallowing liquids difficult.
A not-so-sweet future?
Though the company has traditionally specialised in manufacturing sweeteners and syrups, the positive response to Precise Thick-N INSTANT has spurred it to seek more opportunities in the aged care market.
Speaking to NutraIngredients-Asia, CEO Mike Tristram said, "It's been on the market for a couple of years now, and we've seen some incredible growth. We've picked up a very large portion of the Australian aged care market within a very short period of time."
In fact, he believes Trisco's aged care business may eventually be bigger than its traditional business in food manufacturing.
He said, "We're currently attempting to grow both sides of the business and having success, but we're definitely seeing faster growth within the aged care environment, and a greater need for innovative solutions within that category."
He added that if Trisco's aged care business continues to grow, "it will dwarf the traditional side of our business to 50% or less".
Currently, Enprocal is exported to New Zealand, Hong Kong, China and Malaysia, while Trisco's sweeteners and syrups are exported to Japan, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines.
Tristram said, "Around 30% of the products we manufacture and sell are currently exported to the Asian region. It's our largest region and we’ve been predominantly focused on it for the last 15 to 20 years."
He is confident that this gives Trisco, based in Brisbane, a strong platform from which to succeed in the region's the aged care market.
However, he acknowledged the challenges in doing so: "Different Asian countries have different ageing population issues. It is quite established in countries like Japan and Korea, and is a growing issue in countries like Malaysia.
"But it is not known what solutions are needed for the aged within those emerging markets. There are younger countries, such as the Philippines, where we don't see a huge opportunity at this point, but there will eventually be one."
He also mentioned that China is an important market for Australian companies, which have been entering or trying to enter the aged care sector in the country.
Timing and strategy
Tristram attributed the acquisition to a combination of strategy and good timing.
He told us: "Warrnambool was looking to exit its Prime Nutrition brand, and we saw an opportunity there. We were looking at launching similar products ourselves, so it was perfect timing."
He added that Trisco had been in search of products that could have "a good symbiotic relationship" with its existing aged care products, and that had the same distribution and sales representation.
While he opted not to reveal exact growth figures, he told us that over the last five years, Trisco has experienced 12% annual growth, a pattern he expects will continue.
"Within the next three to five years, our growth strategy will be predominantly focused on the aged care business, and regional expansion outside of Asia," he added.
"We're focusing on putting plants in other areas of the Asia, as well as in the Americas."