Yield and raw material sourcing among Novozymes’ key areas for innovation

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04 Oct 2017 --- Enzymes market leader Novozymes has identified four areas for innovation it hopes will bring about lasting change in the future: yield, raw material flexibility, health and naturalness and the sensory attributes of its food and beverage produce.

“The journey we are on is that we aspire to help transform the quality and sustainability of food and beverages based on enzymes technology,” asserts Rasmus von Gottberg, Novozymes Vice President, Global Marketing, Food & Beverages.

The transformative power of enzymes is not going unnoticed in the food and beverage space. Enzymes, proteins that act as catalysts, are being used by companies to manufacture a variety of everyday products like sugar, beer, bread and ethanol.

Novozymes is certainly at the forefront of this enzymes space. The company’s overall sales were DKK 14.142 billion (US$2.24 billion) in 2016, with its overall market share estimated at 48 percent. Last year, 26 percent of Novozymes’ sales were to the Food & Beverages industry. In addition, in Novozymes’ Q2 report for 2017, Food and Beverages revenue was found to have grown by 8 percent organically

Von Gottberg has spent nearly 20 years with the global industrial biotechnology company and has spent the last few as the company’s VP for Global Marketing in Food and Beverages. “As such, I take an interest in classic marketing issues, but also very actively in the innovation side of things,” he explains of his role at the company.

Von Gottberg shared his enzymes expertise with NutritionInsight, touching on Novozymes’ products and plans for the four areas the company has identified.

Yielding results
The first area of interest for Novozymes is driving yield throughout the industry and for the company’s customer base.

“If you take the yield side of things – and even raw material flexibility plays into that – we are actively looking to vegetable oil processing,” von Gottberg says. “That whole industry isn’t well penetrated by enzyme technology, and there’s an opportunity to move that industry from some chemically based processing to softer and milder enzymatic processing.”

Novozymes also recently launched a product called Palmora, which allows the palm oil industry to improve the oil extraction rate. “Palm oil is the most-consumed vegetable oil in the world, and the ability to be able to extract more oil from the same amount of palm has all sorts of benefits, not just economic, but also potentially sustainability-wise and more,” von Gottberg explains.

Raw materials get flexible
Novozymes’ second area of interest relates to something von Gottberg broadly calls “raw material flexibility.”

“This can be in brewing processes. In Africa we’ve supported the development of a beer that’s based on cassava, a local raw material,” von Gottberg says. Novozymes collaborated with Barth-Haas, one of the world’s largest hops producers, to make a cassava/sorghum beer and explore alternative raw materials for beer production. The beer was exhibited at Drinktec 2017

The collaboration showed that by switching to local raw materials like sorghum and cassava, brewers can save significantly on costs while meeting the taste expectations of consumers. They can also experiment with different tastes and explore new consumer segments.

Click to Enlarge“Switching to local raw materials helps support local farmers and agricultural value chains (social sustainability). It also reduces losses from transport of grain (environmental – make more with less), and saves transport costs and duties (economic),” Barth-Haas wrote of the collaboration.

Raw material flexibility also involves driving the economics by being able to use more abundant or cheaper raw materials or extract more from the raw materials, according to von Gottberg. Novozymes has recently launched a product called Frontia to the starch industry. The product allows them to drive the yield and also extract more value from their corn processing.

“Frontia is an example, or a spearhead product, for another platform that we work with,” von Gottberg says. “We refer to it as ‘grain milling’ – extracting maximum value out of grain. This means corn – which is what Frontia is about, and the beneficiaries are the starch processors and everybody down that value chain – but also wheat, and potentially other grains.”

Health and naturalness trend presents opportunities
Novozymes’ third area to innovate in relates to the topic around health and naturalness. “An example that typically comes up amongst the enzyme players would relate to the low-lactose development that we see in the dairy industry,” von Gottberg asserts.

The company recently launched Saphera into this space, and von Gottberg points out that it allows sugar reduction to be addressed in fermented milk products like yogurts, thus fitting into the broad sugar reduction trend. Novozymes’ work with Saphera was rewarded recently when the ingredient won first place as most innovative functional ingredient at the Fi South America Innovation Awards 2017.

Meanwhile, the space around eliminating additives in one way, shape or form – whether through emulsifiers or oxidizers in the baking space – continues to be an interesting opportunity for Novozymes.

“Those are platforms for us, and elimination of additives includes – specifically for the baking industry – some bad stuff out there like acrylamide,” von Gottberg explains, adding that it is created in the high-temperature processing of certain raw materials and Novozymes has technologies to enzymatically deal with such issues.

Ensuring feast for the senses
The last main area Novozymes focuses on relates to taste, texture and freshness.

“Another way to encompass it all could be ‘sensory attributes of products,’” von Gottberg explains. “If you look, for example, at the baking industry and some of the trends you see in retail stores, then the initial freshness sensation that we as consumers want to experience is an interesting attribute to support.”

Novozymes believes there are facets related to freshness that remain unexploited as the consumption patterns of consumers evolve, so von Gottberg says the company stays close to them, tracks them and aims to innovate for them.

A good example is protein. “The protein space is interesting, both on the plant side of things and the dairy side of things, and these are areas we look at from an innovation point of view,” von Gottberg says.

“The trend toward plant protein also raises a whole range of challenges in the inclusion of such plant protein in food products and beverage products whilst ensuring not just processability, but especially also the sensory qualities that we look for,” von Gottberg explains. “Plant protein typically comes with bitterness, which either needs to be masked, or can be addressed through enzyme technologies, or a combination of both.”

Novozymes thus offers products like Flavourzyme, a unique enzyme able to provide a deep hydrolysis of plant and animal proteins to generate high-quality flavor.

With its sights set on the four main areas von Gottberg has mentioned, it will be interesting to see what Novozymes continues to add to the world of enzymes. “If you sit in the enzyme space, then all of this is really cool and a fantastic opportunity,” von Gottberg remarks of the potential for innovation in the future.

By Paul Creasy

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