Sector News

Kerry acquires C-LEcta and Enmex to fast track food and pharma biotechnologies

February 20, 2022
Food & Drink

Global taste and nutrition specialist Kerry has made two biotechnology acquisitions, C-LEcta and Enmex, to grow its expertise, technology and manufacturing capabilities.

“Biotechnology, synthetic biology and precision fermentation are radically transforming our food and pharmaceutical industries. We are on the cusp of a new wave of innovation.

“There are significant advances happening in this space, where engineering and computer science principles are being applied to address biological challenges and new healthier, more sustainable foods and medicines are being created,” Dr. Albert McQuaid, chief science and technology officer of Kerry tells FoodIngredientsFirst.

Based in Leipzig, Germany, c-LEcta is a biotechnology innovation company specializing in precision fermentation, optimized bioprocessing and biotransformation of targeted enzymes and ingredients. The company specializes in disruptive new sciences for the pharmaceutical market with a pipeline of functional bioactives across food, beverage and other consumer markets.

Fungus-produced ovalbumin, for example, can potentially mitigate part of the environmental burden associated with chicken egg white powder, precisely when low carbon energy sources are used in production, according to research by the Future Sustainable Food Systems research group at the University of Helsinki together with VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland.

Bioprocessing branching into Latin America

The strategic acquisition of Enmex will complement Kerry’s existing enzyme portfolio and build on its capacity to use enzymes in modifying cereals and grains.

Enmex is an enzyme manufacturer based in Mexico, supplying multiple bioprocess solutions for F&B markets. The acquisition will extend Kerry’s fermentation and enzyme manufacturing capabilities into Latin America, its largest market.

The company can now increase the breadth of enzymes it manufactures, by adding six additional six commercial enzyme producing strains and their manufacturing processes to its offering.

“Enzymes play a vital role as biocatalysts in the food, beverage and pharma industries, where they deliver many benefits including improved product quality, increased process efficiency, and reduced food waste, through both minimization of waste and valorization of waste streams,” explains McQuaid.

c-LEcta has successfully commercialized a number of biotechnology products, including enzymes which make pharmaceutical bioprocess production more efficient and more sustainable, enzymes which support the production of a plant-based sweetener and other innovative enzymes used in food applications.

Enmex produces and commercializes enzymes for the brewing, dairy and beverages markets. Like Kerry, Enmex places focus on technical and application support for customers.

“Beyond the Horizon is our Kerry sustainability strategy, which sets out ambitious sustainability targets for us to achieve as a company. We believe these acquisitions are very aligned with not only our own sustainability strategy but also that of our customers. It is another step on our Kerry journey to respond to customer demands for better products that have been produced in a better way, for a better planet,” says McQuaid.

Global F&B acquisitions
In January, Kerry officially opened a 21,500 square-foot facility at its Jeddah operation in Saudi Arabia to produce sustainable food ingredients. These will be distributed across the Middle East, particularly in the snack, meat and bakery sectors.

The company has invested over €80 million (US$90.3 million) in the region over the past four years. This new facility is Kerry’s largest in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey (MENAT) region.

Earlier that year, the company acquired Niacet to strengthen its food protection and preservation strategy. Niacet is a key player in preservation, and its business complements Kerry’s extensive portfolio of food protection and preservation technologies and processes.

Globally, the consumer and market demand for technologies that preserve freshness, extend shelf life and reduce the global burden of food waste is accelerating.

By Inga de Jong


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