Less than a year since SternMaid invested €9m in a 10,000 tonne powder blending and packaging facility, the fast-growing firm is once again enlarging its facility in Wittenburg, Northern Germany, this time through the construction of a 5000m2 plant for producing and storing powdered products for the retail market.
Torsten Wywiol, CEO of SternMaid, told NutraIngredients his company was investing on the back of growth in demand for outsourcing services.
“In Europe, outsourcing is a growing market in which we are participating through continuous investments. We regard ourselves as a premium partner with a development department of our own,” he said.
Protein mixes in demand
Wywiol highlighted the filling of food supplements and protein blends for athletes into retail packs as one of the fastest growing areas of the market, and said that within this space, companies were looking for a full service contract partner.
“More and more customers are asking SternMaid for an integrated, all-round service - encompassing purchase of raw materials, production of the mixture, filling, warehousing and despatch - all from one source,” he said.
The company’s existing production facility offered no more room for expansion, having gradually grown from one blending line in 1999 to eight lines today (the latest blending line was commissioned at the end of June).
SternMaid said this “continuous increase in capacity utilisation” led to the decision to build a second plant. Construction commences in September, and once the plant goes on-stream, a year from now, all powdered products destined for the retail channel will be manufactured under one roof. The original production plant will then be dedicated to production of ingredients such as additives for flour and baked goods, enzyme compounds and vitamin pre-mixes.
SternMaid confirmed that its focus was on the European market, with the German market playing an important role “for logistical reasons”.
A business in boom
This is the latest chapter in an ongoing success story for the European contract manufacturing arm of the privately-owned €400m+ SternWywiol Gruppe. This year marks SternMaid’s 20th anniversary, and sees the company investing €15m back into the business.
Wywiol attributes the company’s strong performance to several factors, chief among them its fluid bed technology.
“With our fluid bed technology we offer instantisation solutions based on agglomeration and granulation, and also coating of products. This is a special service that not many manufacturers offer,” he said.
He continued: “We are not the cheapest but our aim has always been to rank among the best in the contract manufacturing sector."