Product development seen in Clover result

By Dominique Patton

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Docosahexaenoic acid

Australian health ingredients business Clover said sales of its
omega-3 oil and powders increased 21 per cent during the year on
higher demand from the supplement and infant nutrition sectors.

But progress in new products has been slow and new managing director Ian Brown says his attention will be fully focused on getting its soy products off the ground as well as establishing further opportunities for omega-3 in Europe and the US. The company reported revenue of $A17.3 million for the year to end of June, with the majority coming from the sale of tuna oil to its 70 per cent-owned joint venture, Nu-Mega Ingredients. It also sold some oil to other customers, and gained some revenue from other undisclosed sources. Nu-Mega Ingredients supplies omega-3 oil and powder to customers across different sectors, with new customers during the year ranging from a Japanese confectionery business to makers of bars, cereals and canned goods in New Zealand and a bread firm in Indonesia. Sales growth was however attributed to "continued advances in infant nutrition and the powdered supplement categories in Australia and New Zealand"​, according to a statement issued on the Australian stock exchange. Nu-Mega has signed a two-year global supply contract with an international infant formula company and says the deal will be a significant revenue boost. But Clover is also looking for opportunities to reach the European and US markets, where media coverage of omega-3's benefits "has resulted in a more open response from food companies"​. It is also investing in research to improve on the microencapsulation of its fish oil to expand the applications for this product. This will create the 'next generation' of its powdered Driphorm ingredients range, said Brown. However the new managing director will be spending much of his time on the company's soy venture, which is developing a range of soy ingredients with a bland flavour for beverages, baked goods and frozen foods. "Progress in this area has been slower than expected and one of my key focuses at the moment is to make sure these products are ready for the market,"​ he told Clover said it is confident of concluding a supply agreement with a well-known Australian brand early in the coming year. However the soy joint venture with Austgrains has resulted in start-up losses of $357,000. R&D costs were also up significantly over the year, and combined with the impact of redundancy costs at Nu-Mega and the write-down of plant equipment, profits were down to A$453,000 from A$771,000 in the prior year.

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