Algry maintains sales growth in cholines market

Related tags Nutrition Marketing Us

Spanish company Algry Quimica continues to see strong growth of its
cholines, based on expanding applications for the niche ingredient.

Choline, previously only used in infant formula to support mental development, is gaining interest from makers of weight control products, and for liver health and other nutraceuticals. One of the B vitamins, it helps the use of fats in the body and therefore supports weight loss. It is also referred to as the 'memory' vitamin, owing to its key role in the nervous system and apparent aid to memory.

Guillermo Rodriguez, sales manager for the firm, said: "We've seen an increasing number of finished products being launched, not just by US companies exporting to Europe, but also from European companies themselves."

The finished products include those aimed at pregnant women, older people and dieters.

But the US remains a major opportunity for the niche market player, despite the currency impact on profits, thanks to its innovative nutraceuticals market.

"We are looking at brands like Centrum which has developed several new lines recently, adding new ingredients like lutein and lycopene."

The US market also offers a booming weight loss sector and is supported by nutrient content claims and the inclusion of two basic choline salts in the US Pharmacopeia.

Algry is also keen to expand into new regions such as Asia and South America to spread its customer base. The company has already increased its market share to around 25 per cent, and appears to have taken share from some of its competitors.

With a 15 per cent rise in net sales for the first six months of 2004 over last year's figures, it is faring better than US competitor Balchem, which has been hit by a slowdown in new product launches in the food industry, which generates about half the sales of its encapsulated segment.

Algry, on the other hand, operates in bulk ingredients, although it still faces price competition from Indian and Chinese players, which is steadily driving choline prices downwards. This has forced the firm to compete on quality, working to GMPs and ISO 9001 guidelines.

"In a such a tough and competitive market, we want to make quality itself our sustainable, long-term competitive advantage, offering the growing market of choline-based products a permanent and reliable source of material,"​ said Rodriguez.

The company expects sales growth to continue at around 14-15 per cent until the year-end.

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