DuPont health & nutrition president on mega mergers, start-up successes and new product launch plans

© iStock

Despite its recent mega mergers and billion-dollar business deals, DuPont is still very much focussed on collaborating with start-ups. “Not everything has to be invented in our labs,” its nutrition and health president Matthias Heinzel tells FoodNavigator.

Heinzel heads up DuPont’s multi-billion nutrition and health division which supplies sweeteners, proteins, enzymes, colours, flavours, probiotics and soy.

Last month’s announcement that DuPont is to acquire FMC’s health and nutrition business, will bring an additional €655m (FMC’s 2016 revenue which came mainly from texturants) under Heinzel’s helm.

“It’s a very complementary portfolio and strategically aligned deal [that will] add high value ingredients to our product base,” he said. DuPont already supplies texturants such as carrageenan and alginates but will gain cellulose from the deal, for instance.

“FMC has a model of technical centres model that we can tap into [and] with the addition of FMC’s portfolio we get a broader toolbox with better solutions for our customers.”

Working towards a seamless transition

The agreement will also see DuPont swap a number of its crop protection assets to FMC –  two parts of the same deal, Heinzel said, with these “divestments remedies” intended to ensure the European Commission’s approval of the DuPont-Dow $130 billion crop chemical merger.

As for the short to medium-term priorities, Heinzel said the company would be working hard to meet its own targets for the transition. It hopes to complete the Dow merger by the third quarter 2017 and the FMC acquisition by the fourth.

“We are working in three phases in planning to make sure everything can be done in a seamless way for customers. By the fourth quarter [of this year] we will have an integrated organisation so we can start to actually use the FMC toolbox and portfolio with all our customers." 

'It's not a cookie-cutter approach to collaborating with start-ups'

But the firm is not solely interested in million- and billion-dollar deals.

“Some of those bigger deals are going on but at same time we are also open and focused on working very intensely with smaller start-ups and universities in scaling up new technologies – and that’s not just nutrition and health, it goes across DuPont.”

“We want to create useful products for end customers but not everything has to be invented in our own labs – although we do have a great history in doing that."

At the end of last year, for instance, Heinzel’s division announced a collaboration with a small Belgian firm working in the field of human milk oligosaccharides. “We are working with them to create a new offering in the baby formula market.”

Other multinational manufacturers and suppliers that have incubator schemes and accelerators to tap into the technical know-how coming from start-ups, such as Unilever’s Foundry, Naturex’s Ingenium or General Mill’s G-Win but DuPont doesn’t - although it still finds ways to partner with smaller players.  

“It’s not a cookie cutter approach but we do have a model for working with small start-ups either through collaboration or investment. We create dedicated teams and staff them appropriately with people that have the right mind-set.

“Local start-ups bring a certain expertise which we combine with our strengths. Numbers-wise we are bigger, we can scale up from laboratory to commercial scale for example, but they have speed and agility. It’s about accommodating expectations.”

Probiotic push

As part of the company’s quarterly launch plan, Heinzel said manufacturers could expect a new product to be announced in the coming months. The president remained tight-

lipped on the details although he did say it would be linked to probiotics – an area his division has been investing heavily in area recently.

In November last year DuPont announced a significant $100m (€95m) expansion of its US-based probiotic manufacturing capability.

Meanwhile, in January this year it announced it would be injecting $60 million (€57m) in expanding frozen and freeze-dried dairy starter culture production sites in France and Germany.

Although this was for yoghurt, fresh fermented and cheese markets, the processing equipment could be used to make probiotics, however this was not currently planned for Europe, a spokesperson said at the time.

“I think the health-oriented part of the business is a big area for growth. We see interesting opportunities, and probiotics stand out especially,” Heinzel added. "We are on a trajectory to grow the business and our global footprint with substantial investments."

Related News

© iStock

DuPont health & nutrition president on mega mergers, start-up successes and new product launch plans

iStock / pichet_w

DuPont to divest alginates business as Commission clears FMC-DuPont deals

'DTU has a long tradition for researching in the fields of biotechnology and process technology with an innovative slant. We are continuing to build on this tradition,' said hansen. © iStock/DigitalStorm

Danish food giants and DTU researchers come together to solve the ‘ingredients paradox’

© iStock

DuPont health & nutrition president on mega mergers, start-up successes and new product launch plans

Sweet baked goods, particularly biscuits and cookies, are very popular in South Africa, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Pic: DuPont

Africa and Middle East love sweet bakes, but want sugar reduction: DuPont

© iStock/Nomadsoul1

DuPont to acquire FMC’s health and nutrition business in billion dollar food-crop swap

© iStock/Miriam2009

DuPont announces €57m European dairy investment

Dow and DuPont both have a portfolio of herbicides for crops for cereals, beets and oil seed rape.

EU Commission raises concerns over Dow DuPont merger

China International Food Safety & Quality Conference + Expo, November 2-3 in Shanghai

China and Europe increasingly working together on food safety – EFSA

Submit a comment

Your comment has been saved

Post a comment

Please note that any information that you supply is protected by our Privacy and Cookie Policy. Access to all documents and request for further information are available to all users at no costs, In order to provide you with this free service, William Reed Business Media SAS does share your information with companies that have content on this site. When you access a document or request further information from this site, your information maybe shared with the owners of that document or information.