Special Edition: Organic Feed

Germany: Organic feed sector proving growth driver for wheat starch player

© istock/Veresovich

Wheat starch producer, Kröner-Stärke, said it can meet demand for locally produced organic raw materials as it notes a booming sector in Germany.

The German firm said it has been producing organic versions of its starches for close to 30 years and, on that basis, it is well placed to help meet increased demand from organic meat producers for locally produced organic ingredients that meet clean label claims.

Henrik de Vries, commercial manager, Kröner-Stärke told this publication it is seeing increasing demand in Germany for organic pregelatinized starches for customized applications.

Pregelatinized starches act as a carrier substance for amino acids, minerals and feedstuff additives, and often are used for thickening in milk replacement feedstuffs, as well as to improve binding strength in feed pelletizing.

In developing tailored products, he said the firm adjusts formulations to take account of either different nutritional requirements or the level of adhesive or binding properties required.

The animal feed side currently represents 10 to 15% of Kröner-Stärke’s business, and the company reported an annual turnover in the region of €70m.

The wheat starch company is also targeting organic feed markets outside of Germany, from feed pellet to milk replacement feed applications and is currently supplying Asian markets with a “special application of organic pregelatinized starch” for fish feed, added de Vries.

Local, regional sourcing 

There is an increasing trend towards local sourcing in European organic production and associated regulatory proposals. 

The European Commission, in its hotly debated organic farming regulation draft proposal, had been envisaging a stricter regulation for organic feed - with a higher proportion of feed produced on-farm or in the region. 

However, the results of the ICOPP project show that might be difficult to achieve for some countries.

That initiative aimed at ensuring availability of locally sourced, nutritionally adequate, organic feedstuffs for pigs and poultry to support 100% organic feed supply by the end of the EU derogation period.

The EU derogation to allow organic pig and poultry producers to include up to 5% non-organic feed within their rations was due to finish at the end of December 2014. That was extended to 31 December 2017, but is said to be under review within the triologue discussions as part of the EU organic farming regulation revamp.  

German organic market

Germany has by far the greatest demand for organic products in the EU and is second only to the US at global level.

With a growth of around 9.9% in 2016, the share of sales of organic food in Germany amounted to around €9.48bn.

Organic farming in Germany still has considerable growth potential, according to a report from BMEL.

The country is trying to increase its percentage of organically cultivated land to 20% of its cropland. 

The federal government has already been supporting organic farming for several years, to the tune of €17m through the federal program for organic farming and other forms of sustainable agriculture every year. It is expected to raise that to €20m this year.

At the end of 2015, there were 24,736 organic-production holdings in Germany farming 1,088,838 hectares of land organically in accordance with the EU legislation governing organic farming.They account for 8.7% of all holdings, farming around 6.5% of the total utilized agricultural area, noted the report produced by BMEL.

 

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