The Dutch company and Swiss family owned Ernst Sander AG, both distribution firms, signed up for the agreement this week and will go under the new company name of Barentz-Sander AG from next April. Barrentz has already built a reputation for supplying vegetable and animal proteins, hopes to use the move to stretch further into Europe and distribute a range of carbohydrates, lipids and proteins across the food industry. The move comes just two months after Barentz Europe strengthened its bakery ingredients arm after buying Italian MDB Twello, which had been selling protein from sweet lupin beans since the 1990s in response to demand for soy alternatives Barentz chief executive Hidde van der Wal said: "The joint-venture fits our strategy to be a strong local supplier in every European country. The conditions in the Swiss market lead us to this solution." Rinus Heemskerk from Barentz told NutraIngredients.com: "If you want to break into Switzerland then you have to be Swiss. "It is a market which is very difficult. The Swiss food industry and agricultural sections are very protective and it is very different to any other part of Europe. "It is a small country but a country which is well fed. At the moment they tend to buy Swiss." Mr Heemskerk said the food ingredients on offer will be used right across the board as well as in the Swiss healthy food industry. He added: "The demand for healthy food in Switzerland is high, it is a driving force." Mr Heemskerk declined to talk about the market value of the deal or any potential financial returns. Barentz Europe distributes a selection of raw materials including flavour enhancers, yeasts and omega-3 fats. The deal follows a series of take over bids and expansions which have seen the group branch out into Turkey, Russia and India. Ernst's Alex Koller, who will head up Barentz Sander, said "Switzerland has a very small market but we are looking to the long term." Last year the Barentz company reported total sales of € 390 million and recently bought Italian ingredient distribution firm Sicos s.r.l.