Palsgaard, a global market leader for chocolate and extruded whipping cake emulsifiers, is expecting to grow further in the Asia Pacific region. The company is on track to open a new factory in neighbouring Johor Bahru, Malaysia by mid-2013, and planning to produce emulsifiers and integrated blends to expand its market leadership to dairy, ice cream, margarine as well as in soya beverages over the next year.
"Much of the global retail food and beverage activities are concentrated in Asia. All the research forecasts are pointing to per capita incomes growing exponentially in Asia, hence creating more middle-class and upper-middle class people who are willing to spend. Imagine – we would have a consumer base here of several billion people. That constitutes a sizeable proportion of the world population," explained Jakob Thøisen, CEO, Palsgaard, who was in Singapore as part of a trip to Asia to introduce the new factory and its business implications to partners at a regional agents’ and distributors’ meeting.
Following its global customers into Asia has worked well for Palsgaard, which has benefited greatly from the region even during crisis years. "We have seen double digit growth of our business in this region even during the financial and economic crises that took place in 1997 and in 2008," said Romil Jagunap, managing director, Asia Pacific, Palsgaard Asia-Pacific.
"Food manufacturers in Asia are getting increasingly sophisticated and more demanding. They want to produce high quality food products at a relatively low cost. Consumers here are also becoming more health conscious."
Palsgaard has already invested in a Regional Application Centre in Singapore worth more than US$8.2m for dairy, ice cream, soya, bakery, and confectionery applications, and is planning on doing more in Asia. A pilot plant for margarine is currently in the works. The company is also in the final phase of constructing a fully automated 20,000-metric-tonne emulsifier plant in Johor Bahru to complement the Singapore facilities and satisfy customer demand for high quality emulsifiers and stabilisers.
Backed by its facilities in this part of the world, Palsgaard will address the needs of food manufacturers in Asia by developing customised solutions and further enhancing technical service and application support to customers. The Palsgaard production facility in Johor Bahru will produce high quality food emulsifiers that include distilled monoglycerides (DMG), sodium stearoyl-2-lactylate (SSL), propylene glycerol esters of fatty acids (PGMS), mono- and di-glycerides (MDG). Palsgaard will also produce integrated blends of emulsifiers and stabilisers for the dairy, ice cream and soya milk manufacturers.
"Our company is fully committed in Asia," said Thøisen. "We are thus expanding our operations, and that includes increasing our manpower and human resources in general. We have hired food technologists, and chemical engineers to support the growth of our business in this region."
Palsgaard’s commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR) extends to Asia as well. The company aims to reduce its CO2 emissions to zero in 2020 at all its factories around the world, including the factory in Malaysia.
Palsgaard also plans to source for raw materials, specifically palm oil, from suppliers who are members of the roundtable on sustainable palm oil (RSPO) and GreenPalm. The company is also working towards making at least 90% of its packaging recyclable.