In the search for alternatives to antibiotics more and more producers turn towards phytogenics, or botanical additives. Specialist market leader Delacon now teamed up with conglomerate Cargill to cater to the fast changing market. Here’s an exclusive interview with Delacon CEO Markus Dedl and Cargill’s premix business president Chuck Warta.
According to a recent market analysis of the feed phytogenic market, sales of feed phytogenics across the globe can grow to US$ 2.5 billion by the year 2026. A huge leap from the current usage of phytogenics, which are only used in about 3% of all compound feeds. The predicted growth is underlined by recent research of the Austrian company Delacon, which showed an 80% acceptation rate with millennial foodies when it comes to animal production with the use of plant based additives. Delacon’s Markus Dedl says, ‘’Consumers tell us two things. First of all, there is a global trend in moving away from antibiotic growth promoters. Antibiotic-free production is the new norm. Second, the use of botanicals resonates positively. Phytogenics are considered a key piece for solving present and future challenges, including those posed by consumer driven market demands such as cage-free hen housing or ‘no antibiotics ever’ programs in broiler production.”
Cargill's Chuck Warta: "We are in the middle of an era of micro-nutrition, it is happening now.’’ Photo: Joe Treleven
To be able to cater to the future demand, the specialist company Delacon and the worldwide operation concern Cargill have agreed to a strategic partnership in 2017 that will advance the market presence of natural, plant-based feed additives on a global scale, and meet changing consumer preferences of what animals are fed and how food is produced. The deal includes a minority equity investment from Cargill. Chuck Warta: ‘’We want to drive the phytogenic market globally, connecting Cargill’s deep expertise in applied nutrition and global presence with Delacon’s know-how and market experience in phytogenic feed additives.” Both Warta and Dedl believe that the agreement will also allow the companies to expand their technical and go-to-market capabilities to meet customers’ needs around the world as they pursue the joint mission of growing the phytogenic feed additives category.
Chuck Warta is president and group leader for Cargill’s premix business globally. He is responsible for serving customers in more than 100 markets, leading more than 7,000 employees at 60 facilities across 26 countries. Chuck joined Cargill in 1991, he worked in several managing roles in the US before moving to Korea and later to China and Thailand. He returned to Cargill Animal Nutrition in 2016 to assume his current role. He holds a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics from Kansas State University.
Chuck Warta continues, “The world is changing immensely fast. We are learning more and more of the gut biome of birds, the potential and digestion. We are in the middle of an era of micro-nutrition, it is happening now.” According to Warta, customers don’t have 10 years to wait for what is happening; “We now face the challenge of food safety and sustainability, without the use of antibiotics. We want to share innovation and research capabilities. We do so with Delacon, but also with Diamond V, which was acquired by Cargill. One plus one plus one, doesn’t equal three in this case, but closer to five! Together we can make all the difference.”
Delacon's Markus Dedl: “Phytogenics are one of the most promising groups of feed additives, and are turning from a niche market into a mainstream need." Photo: Delacon
Dedl on the upside of the strategic partnership: ‘’For Delacon, the partnership will give access to countries worldwide, where it does not have a market presence today. The Russian market will be the first example of that. For Cargill, the investment expands its presence and capability in the additives space, with a focus on select markets outside the United States. Delacon’s successful distribution and partnership network, for instance in the US with Purina and PMI Nutritional Additives, will be retained, and developed further to make plant-based feed additives more available around the globe.” “Our agreement with Cargill represents an opportunity to accelerate growth and invest in Delacon’s future and the future of phytogenic feed additives, as our customers are looking for solutions delivered in a natural, efficient and sustainable way – from feed to food,” says Markus Dedl.
Markus Dedl, son of Delacon’s founder Helmut Dedl, who also coined the term ‘phytogenic feed additives,’ is CEO of the company and all its subsidiaries since 2010. Under his leadership, the company records annual growth of over 20% and has become the global leader in the growing market segment of phytogenic feed additives. Markus Dedl is part of the membership committee and an ambassador for the International Egg Commission (IEC) and actively involved in other organisations across the globe.
From niche to mainstream
“Phytogenics are one of the most promising groups of feed additives, and are turning from a niche market into a mainstream need. We are entering a new era of phytogenic feed additives, and the next five years are decisive for the developments in this growing market.” Chuck Warta states, “Cargill and Delacon share common values – a commitment to our customers, science-driven innovation and high product quality. We also value a positive and safe work environment for our employees, sustainable and responsible business practices and deep ties to our communities. Producing healthy food sustainable, that is our mission and that aligns perfectly with concept behind Delacon’s phytogenic feed additives.”