Irish supplier Willows Ingredients has launched a UK-based European division to target smaller continental European markets and says the Eurozone economic problems are no barrier to growth.
Sales manager Derek Conway told us the €12m, 5-year-old firm had registered strong interest mostly from nutraceutical and sports nutrition players in markets like Spain, Italy, the Netherlands and Scandinavia.
Demand was particularly strong for herbal extracts, amino acids and joint health nutrient glucosamine, despite the absence of official health claims under the EU’s strict system.
“There is a huge demand for glucosamine – consumers are making up their own minds on these issues,” Conway said.
In a statement he said the timing was good because even though the Eurozone remains tough economically, the fortified foods and food supplements markets offered ongoing opportunity.
“I feel there is no better time than now to expand further into Europe as the industry still remains buoyant in these very challenging times.”
He said the company had managed to grow its business to €12m in five years due to, “a partnership approach” with suppliers.
“We listen to what is happening in the market through our customer and supplier base. We constantly strive to source high quality material for our customer base, with reasonable price points.”
The company works with other suppliers like yeast beta-glucan player Leiber, which is based in Germany, and Chinese omega-3 fish oils supplier, Sinomega.
Willows range includes rosemary extract, bearberry, naringin, cats claw extract, valerian, ginkgo biloba, green tea extracts, soy isoflavones, spirulina, vitamin K2-7, stevia, CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), CoEnzymeQ10, lutein, lycopene, zeaxanthin and range of probiotic strains including the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium genuses.
The company is also active in animal nutrition.