Nutritional ingredients firm Barentz International expands in Vietnam amid rising APAC sales

Barentz International's Vitablend production site in Singapore.

Dutch ingredients firm Barentz International recently has opened its first office in Vietnam, on the back of 15% annual Asia Pacific growth.

Barentz Vietnam will receive the bulk of its products from the company’s Vitablend production facility in Singapore, which produces nutritional premixes and functional ingredients for manufacturers across the food industry, and has a strong focus on infant and medial nutrition.

Asia Pacific MD Marc Duchêne told us that India, Pakistan and Bangladesh were its next priorities to further boost business in the region.

Duchêne said, "We’ve already had business in Vietnam for more than five years, but only on an export basis. This is increasing, and we wanted to give full service to our customers. That means we can import, store and deliver our goods locally, and invoice them in local currency. We already had a small team but now, it’s a full legal entity.”

Headquartered in the Netherlands, Barentz International has offices and facilities in 60 countries, mostly in Europe and Asia, as well as in South Africa, Iran and the US.

The company opened the Vitablend plant in Singapore in 2012, and then built its business across Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand and China. Presently, 10% of Barentz International's business is in the Asia Pacific region, employing 160 staff and enjoying 15% annual growth.

Duchêne said: “We are almost everywhere in Asia already; Vietnam was one of the remaining countries on the map.”

Though the company currently has only five people in its new Ho Chi Minh office, there are already plans to expand further into other parts of the country: “At the moment we are in Ho Chi Minh City, but we will open an office in Hanoi to cover the food industry in the north of the country,” he said.

Industry opportunities

Barentz Vietnam’s main focus is on the country’s dairy and bakery sectors, to which it supplies ingredients such as nutrient premixes and starch derivatives. However, it sees potential for further growth in the beverage, confectionery, and animal nutrition industries.

Apart from Vitablend, another of the company's internal brands, Unilecithin — which serves as a specialist supplier of lecithins for foods, feeds, pharmaceuticals and personal care — will feature prominently in the Vietnam market.

He added that Barentz International would “bring in more products to the market, depending on the needs of the industry. These can be fibres, texturisers, waxes, colourings or flavours”.

“We have access to all these ingredients in our network, so it’s a matter of prioritising and doing a step-by-step implementation of these products into the market.”

Duchêne also highlighted Barentz International’s emphasis on tailoring its business to the local market: “Each country has its own specificities, tastes and preferences, which is why we want local teams in all these countries — Indonesians in Indonesia, Filipinos in the Philippines, Malaysians in Malaysia — to really be close to the market.”

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