The French company had not previously focused on expansion into the US market, said Olivier Chlech, CEO.
“Nor-Feed is still a small company so we have to focus commercially on some territories more than others,” he told us at last week’s International Processing and Packaging Expo (IPPE).
However, it is looking to growth in the US market given the developments there, the increased focus on a shift away from antibiotic use in animal farming, he said.
“Unlike Europe, where it was a regulatory driven change ten years ago, here it’s a market-pulled change,” he said.
Nor Feed is currently participating in the Agri NEST program to support expansion into the US market, said Clech. That sees the company’s business development manager, Lucie Ozenne, is in the US for the next year.
“We have the ambition to create a few Nor-Feed [branches]” said Clech. “Not to cover the world, but to raise the visibility of the Nor-Feed flag.”
The company is having meetings with multiple groups around its US expansion efforts, with it evaluating direct inclusion in products, research trials or tie-ups with distributors.
Nor Feed is looking at opportunities in the poultry and swine production sectors. It is also eyeing certain aquaculture species and the ruminant sector in terms of the US market push, he said.
“Using saponins you can target the protozoa in the rumen of the animal and you can reduce the production of methane,” he said.
Research and development
Several of the company’s plant-based products are already considered generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), said Clech. However, the company has had to compile a dossier for its grape-based product before it can be approved for use.
“It’s unfortunate that it’s not approved in the US,” he said. “Everyone is drinking grape, eating grape but you cannot feed your pigs some grape extract.”
Its grape based extract has recently been authorized in the EU as a botanical sensory additive for use in animal nutrition.
“We think at least a significant part of what we developed for Europe, and the rest of the world, is relevant for the US,” he said.
The company has recently set up a joint venture in Vietnam , said Clech. There is a long history of using plants in feed, food and medicine in that country and neighboring markets, he said. “We’ve already identified a few plants that grow there that will be of interest to us, so it will not only be a commercial venture, it will be a product development venture."