[INTERVIEW] BIOMIN Aims to Be Phytogenic Feed Additive Market Leader by 2020 - World Nutrition Forum

The rapid pace of technological advancement will continuously redefine the industry in the coming years. Therefore the forum is a unique opportunity to unite researchers at the forefront of technology with leading industry professionals and exchange ideas.

"The importance of scientific innovation cannot be overstated. The Earth’s finite resources and growing population require us to pursue a sustainable agenda alongside profits. Knowledge sharing underpins these efforts," notes Dr. Erich Erber, founder of BIOMIN.

Feedinfo News Service was able to talk to several of the speakers on the sidelines of the forum, themed ‘Driving the Protein Economy’, and get some additional insight from some ground-breaking minds. These interviews will be published over the course of the next days.

Dr. Hannes Binder, Managing Director BIOMIN

Today’s interview, however, is conducted with BIOMIN Managing Director, Dr. Hannes Binder, who shortly before the opening of the forum outlined the feed additive producer’s ambition to become the market leader in the phytogenic feed additive (PFA) space by 2020.

“BIOMIN [which already ranks among the top three companies in terms of annual PFA sales globally] will be the top phytogenics company within the next four years”, he told the audience in Vancouver.

[Feedinfo News Service] Dr. Binder, BIOMIN already ranks among the top three phytogenics companies in terms of annual PFA sales globally. What is your view of the global phytogenics market today?

[Hannes Binder] The phytogenic feed additives market stands out for its strong demand and huge growth potential. This momentum stems from several overlapping trends both within and outside of the industry—the influence of regulators and end consumers in many places being felt more than in the past—and the food industry has already made certain moves. To differing degrees based on their precise situation, livestock and aquaculture producers are looking to reduce antibiotic use, improve gut performance and improve feed efficiency while limiting the impacts of their operations on the environment. Better feed conversion is the key to achieving these goals on a profitable, sustainable basis. BIOMIN ranks among the largest players in the phytogenic space, though the market itself is highly fragmented. Given the economies of scale and know-how required to deliver effective client solutions, a firm willing to make the right investments in resources, technology and people today can outpace the competition and attain market leadership. Much of the research platform that we’ve built becoming the global leader in mycotoxins is relevant for PFAs. I believe that BIOMIN is uniquely positioned in that respect, having unmatched scientific R&D expertise and solid track record of genuine innovation in the feed additives space, along with a strong customer focus.

[Feedinfo News Service] The company plans to be the top phytogenics company by 2020. Will this target be met via organic growth and/or M&A?

[Hannes Binder] To demonstrate our commitment to becoming the market leader in phytogenics, we have placed all options on the table to pursue growth and reach our goal. Historically, we’ve leveraged both methods in order to build a strong phytogenics portfolio—having begun R&D efforts in the mid-1990’s and having acquired the Digestarom brand in 2012. That said, Digestarom is a core component of our path to success going forward.>

Becoming number one will require delivering the most value to clients. We already have a roadmap in that regard, based on our leading position in the field of mycotoxin risk management. Within the Erber Group, of which BIOMIN is a part, we’ve distilled this into a value proposition dubbed the 3 S’s: Science, Speed and Service. Particularly regarding the latter, it’s important to emphasize how our technical sales teams partner with clients to support application concepts. We also provide education, share new scientific findings and follow-up to ensure that our clients are achieving the best possible performance.

[Feedinfo News Service] Digestarom® ranks among the top three phytogenic feed additives sold worldwide. Are you planning to reach your 2020 target with the Digestarom® range alone or does BIOMIN have more phytogenic feed additives in the pipeline?

[Hannes Binder] It may be surprising to many to learn that the Digestarom brand, which dates back to 1989, is two years older than Mycofix®, our mycotoxin risk management solution. We will continue to develop the Digestarom range based on considerable in-house research from the BIOMIN Research Center, whose work is supported by our seven Centers for Applied Animal Nutrition and a network of 200 academic and research partner institutions located throughout the world. Years of significant R&D investment have already borne fruit. We will unveil the newest innovations in the Digestarom product line at VIV Asia in March 2017.

[Feedinfo News Service] In July, as part of an effort to focus on major livestock species, BIOMIN streamlined the number of products within the Digestarom® phytogenic feed additive portfolio. Can you provide us an overview of what concretely happened?

[Hannes Binder] After nearly three decades on the market, the Digestarom portfolio had acquired considerable breadth. We felt that the best way to reinforce the value proposition was to introduce strategic focus. In essence, this meant aligning the portfolio to our R&D focus and our longstanding experience serving customers in the livestock and aquaculture sectors. We expect this move to generate efficiencies and allow us to allocate further attention, R&D and customer service to the application of phytogenic feed additives in poultry, swine, ruminant, farmed fish and shrimp diets.

For ruminants, this meant renaming the product to match its application. Since September, Digestarom Bos is the new name for Digestarom Milk. Derived from the Latin word for cattle, it fits the production stage requirements of dairy calves and beef animals. It’s the same, proven formulation that BIOMIN customers have used for years. In conjunction with Digestarom Dairy, we offer a complete and field-tested phytogenic feed additive ruminant portfolio.

[Feedinfo News Service] You state that one way of meeting the 2020 target will be by leveraging your deep knowledge in phytogenics to advance the science even further. Could you be more specific?

[Hannes Binder] Having a documented mode of action is the clearest example—knowing not just that the product works, but why it works. Recent in vitro and in vivo research shows that a complex phytogenic such as Digestarom is able to counteract inflammation, thereby ‘saving’ that energy to go towards animal performance. For many years now we’ve been involved in transcriptomics and other ‘-omics’ technologies that have shed considerable light on the way forward for AGP replacement, for example. Phytogenics are not a one-to-one replacement for AGPs: rather, phytogenics are one of several gut performance tools available to producers. Digestarom, in particular, delivers better feed efficiency. A meta-analysis of 14 commercial broiler trials shows that Digestarom delivers a 5-point FCR improvement over AGPs and a 39-gram improvement in final weight. We’re also devoting considerable resources to work regarding antibiotic-free feeding.

[Feedinfo News Service] Research & Markets estimates the global feed phytogenics market size will reach USD 769.5 million in size by 2021. The Asia Pacific market is expected to hold 32% in 2020 (with an average CAGR of 4.7 %), followed by North America, where expected growth is estimated with a CAGR of 4.1% (2015-2020). Do you agree with these estimates?

[Hannes Binder] We expect the market to develop more rapidly and reach that size much sooner. At present, phytochemical-based additives are applied to approximately 3% of the 1.2 billion tons of feed used worldwide. We see the market rising four-fold by 2030 as agribusiness advances in terms of market competition, the pursuit of feed efficiency and antibiotic reduction. This implies a considerably higher growth rate that is more closely aligned with the worldwide sales figures for Digestarom, which annually grow by double digits. Also, this scenario is consistent with the diffusion model of innovation, and early adopters across the globe have already latched on to the benefits of Digestarom in improving feed conversion. It is important not to discount the speed at which consumer demand has shifted the industry in many of the world’s largest agricultural markets and producers have announced a number of steps in that regard.

[Feedinfo News Service] Which markets in particular has BIOMIN identified as key to achieving its 2020 ambition?

[Hannes Binder] Our ambition is both company-wide and global. In 2014, we announced the rollout of our second pillar –gut performance– as a strategic pursuit alongside our first pillar—mycotoxin risk management. Phytogenics comprise the foundation of our gut performance family, which also includes probiotics such as PoultryStar® and enhanced organic acid-based products; Biotronic®. Geographically, the efforts to phase out AGPs have accelerated in countries worldwide, including Brazil, China and the United States, and BIOMIN has a strong footprint in each of these markets. But the value proposition of Digestarom is not limited to a handful of markets. We serve clients in more than 100 countries globally through local offices and valued distributors. Given that the phytogenics market is still in the early stages, we see lots of potential for application in poultry, swine, ruminants and aquaculture species.

[Feedinfo News Service] Alongside your 2020 plan, can we expect BIOMIN to increase its production capacity of phytogenics in the near future?

[Hannes Binder] Part of becoming number one includes expanding our production capacity. We already have significant in-house, state-of-the-art production facilities. Becoming number one will also require providing clients with consistent, high value products that they have come to expect from BIOMIN.

Our strategic goal until 2020 in the area of phytogenics projects double digit growth in sales. Accordingly, we will double our phytogenics production capacity in the coming years. Concretely, this investment will support new innovations and inventions with new, state-of-the-art technologies—and one such innovation will be launched at VIV Asia in March. Production also goes hand in hand with our R&D investment and further support of clients globally.

This interview was first published on www.feedinfo.com.