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Asia Pacific: Rising middle class is a growing market for sweeteners in Asia, Novasep tells FNI


Novasep’s new office in Bangkok, Thailand follows hot on the heels of its offices in China (opened in 2012) and India (2013).

Food News International asks Damien Brichant, Novasep’s Asia Pacific manager, the reasons for expanding in Southeast Asia and opportunities for greater growth.

FNI: What are the factors for opening an office in Bangkok?

Brichant: Novasep is among the leading suppliers of engineering solutions for single purification units as well as complete processes for food and feed industries.

Additionally, our customers are increasingly seeking fast and agile companies, like Novasep, to able to support their steady pace of development.

More and more, they are requiring a single partner for both engineering and to build complete production lines.

In this context, Bangkok is a strategic location for Novasep in Southeast Asia.

We already have a strong and long-established presence in Asia.

Our Thai office leverages our presence while improving our ability to serve clients locally.

This is a natural progressive step to meet increasing demand for high-efficiency processes in the food and feed industries in this region.

FNI: How has Novasep’s businesses grown in the Southeast Asian market since the time the company began in the region? 

Brichant: Novasep has high name recognition in this region.

We are currently managing several projects here.

Our initial projects in Thailand date as far back as the early 1980’s.

However since then, we have been engrossed with the accelerated development that China has been experiencing over the last decade.

More recently in the last few years, we have been experiencing significant growth in our activities in Southeast Asia.

One of the best examples is the high profile project we announced in 2014, where we are building a complete sorbitol production plant in Vietnam.

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FNI: What are the reasons for such growth? 

Brichant: Clearly, the players in these fast growing economies have strategic development plans in which timing is particularly key.

They need to rely on technical experts that can support their strategy for growth.

This is what they find with Novasep’s team.

On top of the technical expertise, our customers also find Novasep an ‘easy to deal with’ company that is represented by an agile local team.

For us, being local is pivotal indeed.

It truly helps to have a more direct relationship in real time, and with the same cultural mind-set.

It is really crucial to go fast and do it right!

We are convinced that in addition to the set of technologies and engineering expertise of our teams, this geographical and cultural proximity with our customers supports our growth in the region.

FNI: What is the top market demand that Novasep has identified to meet in Southeast Asia?

Brichant: The food industry is in active development and our main focus today.

For example, the need for sweeteners (either from sugar cane or starch) is increasingly being driven by a rising middle-class in these countries.

The economies of Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia and the Philippines are among the fastest growing in the ASEAN-10 countries according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

This growth is based on the internal demand that drives sustained increase of new products consumption.

Generally speaking, our set of technologies and engineering skills applies to industries involved in producing food ingredients (sugar, demineralized whey, and starch derivatives), functional ingredients (Omega-3, fructooligosaccharides, galacto-oligosaccharides) and, fermentation-based commodities ingredients such as amino acids (lysine, threonine) or organic acids (citric acids).

We also propose high-efficiency processes for industries, such as chemical commodities and in particular bio-based chemicals that are currently developed globally.

For us the decision to equip this new office with local capabilities, together with local sourcing and project management for on-site process development, was critical to offering more proximity and a premium quality service in the region.

FNI: Where in Asia does Novasep plan to expand into in the future?

Brichant: Novasep has been in Asia since 2005.

The addition of this office in Thailand follows our expansion into India in December 2013, with the opening of a subsidiary in Bangalore.

Prior to that, the company expanded its Asian offices, by setting up a process development and engineering center in Shanghai, China in 2012.

Novasep has clearly a strategy to develop its industrial biotech business unit.

Asia clearly has still many opportunities for Novasep.

The development plan envisions all the aspect of our business: geography, offering, technology and also application of our processes.