Probiotics are increasingly seen as a natural alternative to antibiotic growth promoters in livestock production, and the two animal nutrition players are looking to tap into that trend - they expect to launch the new probiotic a year from now.
Helle Warrer Poulsen, VP of animal health and nutrition at Novozymes, told FeedNavigator that Adisseo ticked all boxes in terms of the kind of collaborator it required to pursue its ambitions in the probiotic segment.
“When we decided to enter the field of probiotics a few years ago, we were looking for a partner that would share our vision that the probiotic market was underdeveloped and investment in science and innovation was necessary to grow the category - Adisseo matched our expectations.”
Tackling industry scepticism
While there are lots of good players already in the animal probiotics market, there is still room for innovation in the category, continued Poulsen.
She said some inconsistency in results when using animal probiotics in-vivo has led to a certain amount of industry skepticism around them. So the partnership with Adisseo is aimed at ensuring greater “reliability” in animal probiotic technology, she added.
The partnership will be “driven by science” and will involve a dedicated team comprising experts from both companies:
“Novozymes houses the world's largest privately owned strain collection, and has in-vitro screening, product scale-up and production capabilities while Adisseo brings in-vivo testing, sales and marketing expertise to the collaboration. The companies will share knowledge within those boundaries,” she said.
Adisseo said it is constantly investing, either organically or through strategic partnerships, in NPD to help producers optimize livestock performance while reducing environmental impact, so the decision to enlarge its specialty portfolio with probiotics and partner with Novozymes was straightforward.
"Both companies have a solid track record in developing high performing additives for the feed market and have been looking at the probiotics sector for a while. We share an ambition to enter as a leading player and develop this market," said a spokesperson for the French company.
Field trials with industrial partners will take place over the next 12 months to validate the product:
“We will initially focus on developing a product for the poultry segment but see plenty of opportunity to expand into the swine sector as well,” said Poulsen.
The companies said the new probiotic will be based on beneficial bacteria that promote weight gain and limit development of unwanted bacteria in the animal’s digestive tract. The aim, they said, is to give farmers better control of the gut health of their animals to achieve an improved feed conversion, meaning less feed is consumed when raising an animal.
When asked whether the partners will be evaluating how the product works synergistically with other additives, the spokesperson for Adisseo told us it is envisaged the probiotic under development will deliver "excellent performance as a stand-alone product, and due to its mode of action, will be complementary to other feed additives."
Untapped potential of probiotics market
Poulson said there is plenty of untapped potential in the probiotics category as it has only had around 15 to 30% animal feed market penetration so far. “The value of the animal probiotics market is estimated at around €200 to €300 million, with an annual growth rate of about 8 to 10%.”
She sees opportunities for category growth in Asia, Europe and North and South America, but she said the US is, currently, a very interesting market in this regard:
“The pressure to reduce the use of antibiotic growth promoters there has been particularly strong of late, with lots of pledges on reduction targets forthcoming from the large US poultry integrators, fast food makers and retailers.”
In March this year, McDonalds announced that within the next two years it would only source chicken raised without antibiotics that are important to human medicine. Similarly, Tyson Foods announced in April that by 2017 it will no longer use human antibiotics in chickens. And, last week, US retailing giant, Walmart, announced a new policy which includes “eliminating growth promotion uses of medically important antibiotics.”
FeedNavigator is hosting a free online forum on antibiotic reduction in poultry production on June 30, where experts will discuss the feeding strategies and protocols that support producers in this regard. Click here to register.