“Asia is a focus market for the food industry and therefore for our innovative food ingredients and dietary supplements, too,” said Dr. Gerhard Schmid, president of WACKER BIOSOLUTIONS, at the opening ceremony. “We are meeting our customers’ growing demand by enhancing our local services. With this facility, which is unique in the region, we can further augment our position as an innovative partner to the food industry.”
The food market activities of WACKER BIOSOLUTIONS, the life sciences and biotechnology division within the WACKER Group, are focusing primarily on food ingredients and dietary supplements. The company already operates dedicated food laboratories in the USA and Germany to provide its customers with optimum service. The new laboratory in Singapore will focus on applications involving cyclodextrins, cysteine and hydroxytyrosol intended for the special demands and needs of Asia.
The ring-shaped cyclodextrin sugar molecules, which WACKER bioengineers from plant-based raw materials, such as corn and potatoes, can replace conventional animal-derived emulsifiers, e.g. egg yolk in mayonnaise, egg white and hard fats in desserts and icings, and milk protein in instant coconut milk powder. Moreover, they can protect sensitive ingredients, such as vitamins and co-enzymes against harmful influences, e.g. oxygen and light, increase the bioavailability of hydrophobic substances, such as curcumin, and mask the bitter taste of health-promoting substances, such as green tea extract. Fermentation-prepared cysteine from WACKER can serve as a vegan and halal-certified raw material for meat flavors and as a processing auxiliary in bakeries. HTEssence®, WACKER’s nature-identical hydroxytyrosol, is used in food supplements such as hard capsules, energy bars and drinks. Hydroxytyrosol is a highly effective antioxidant that is claimed to have therapeutic effects on blood pressure and the immune and cardiovascular systems and is used in food supplements such as tablets, energy bars and drinks. WACKER’s solid resins for gumbase further make it possible to quickly and efficiently produce high-quality products for the rapidly growing chewing gum market.
“We see strong growth potential for our food solutions in Asia,” says Patrick de Wolf, managing director of WACKER South East Asia. “The new laboratory will allow us to do an even better job of adapting our products to our customers' needs and to the demands of local industry. It provides us with a unique selling proposition in the region and allows us to offer substantial added value to our Asian customers.”
“With a highly fragmented Asia, it is clear that companies need tailor-made solutions to meet market needs. Consequently, the ability to innovate quickly becomes of utmost importance,” says Cindy Koh, Director Energy & Chemicals, Singapore Economic Development. “Instead of opening labs in every market across Asia, economies of scale can be derived by having Singapore as a strategic base to drive application development for the region. Our access to markets and insights, as well as our research and development ecosystem of publicly funded research institutes and universities, offer opportunities for collaboration which can accelerate innovation yield and reduce cost.”
The Singapore technical center has been supporting customers from the electronics, polishes, textiles, automotive, coatings, construction and health industry since 2007. All labs are equipped with cutting-edge instrumentation meeting international standards. Spanning an area of more than 1,500 square meters, the regional competence center now houses customer development, applications technology, sales, and basic and advanced training under a single roof.
WACKER in Southeast Asia
WACKER has been supplying diverse products to Southeast Asia for many years. Wacker Chemicals (South Asia) Pte. Ltd., which was established in 1984, coordinates regional sales. WACKER has also operated a technical center in Singapore since 2007. Bundling a sales and technical center under one roof enables closer teamwork between the sales and development teams, resulting in optimal customer support. WACKER has other technical centers in the Asia region, such as in Australia, China, India and South Korea. The chemical company currently operates 22 such facilities around the world.