DuPont plans $60 million expansion at European cultures plants

by Eric Schroeder
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Cheese and yogurt
DuPont's expansion is a response to increased demand for cultures from yogurt and cheese markets.

COPENHAGEN, DENMARK — DuPont Nutrition & Health said it will invest $60 million to expand three cultures production sites in Europe in an effort undertaken in response to increasing demand for frozen and freeze-dried starter cultures from the global yogurt, fresh fermented and cheese markets.

The announcement comes a little more than two months after the company unveiled plans to invest $100 million to expand its probiotics production capacity in the United States.

Matthias Heinzel, DuPont
Matthias Heinzel, president of DuPont Nutrition & Health

“These initiatives for European cultures plants will further increase our ability to serve the growing global dairy market,” said Matthias Heinzel, president of DuPont Nutrition & Health. “This additional capacity in cultures ensures that we maintain our recognized reputation for excellent stability and performance by leading customers around the world. Our investment will enable us to support their growth and geographic expansion.”

DuPont said the investments will be made in the company’s facilities in Sassenage and Epernon, France, and Niebüll, Germany. The first phase of the plan will be commissioned in 2017 with an investment in the Sassenage plant. Part of the project will include the increase of fermentation capacity, biomass separation as well as freeze-drying capacity. This will result in an increased production capacity for freeze-dried cultures by the end of 2018, DuPont said.

The company said it will increase its frozen cultures production capacity at the Niebüll and Epernon plants. At Niebüll, some investment already has been made in a new pelletizer, and further investment will be made to expand ultra-cold storage (-55°C) to increase supply of frozen cultures. In Epernon, the plan is to leverage the existing fermentation capacity by investing in a new fermenter, the company said.

“The global dairy industry is expected to grow in the next five years driven by the higher consumption of fresh dairy products especially in Asia, as well as by the increased demand for cheese and cheese products for the food service industry,” said John Rea, probiotics, cultures and food protection leader at DuPont Nutrition & Health. “The investments in both freeze-dried and frozen pellets cultures format will reinforce DuPont Nutrition & Health’s leading position to serve and anticipate the needs of the global yogurt, fresh fermented and cheese industry.”
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