InterviewR&D still key for BASF’s health ingredients business

04 May 2009 14:22  [Source: ICIS news]

By Andy Brice

R&D key for BASFLONDON (ICIS news)--Innovation remains a priority for Germany’s BASF in the health ingredients market despite the pressures faced by the company during the current downturn, a company executive said on Monday.

"It’s essential for the business - especially in the sense of improving the handling and application characteristics of existing molecules," said Martin Jager, head of its Nutrition Ingredients business. 

"We will continue to invest in innovation; it is an unchanged priority for us".

Despite the company coming under increased pressure because of the global financial crisis, the nutraceuticals – or health ingredients - sector continues to display steady growth and decent demand.

"It’s significantly less negatively affected than most of the other industry segments, but there is clearly a shift in consumer demand and in their habits," said Jager.

"We see, for example, that in the US there is increasing demand for dietary supplements to prevent the need for more expensive medical treatment. On the other hand, the consumer is also shifting away from the more expensive brands towards the private label products."

Jager said that robust demand could partly be attributed to aging populations and a desire to improve quality of life, as well as to prevent illness.

With GDP also increasing in emerging markets such as Brazil and China, he added, dietary supplements are getting more and more popular outside of the traditionally strong US, European and Japanese markets.

"We are cautiously positive about the year ahead; we don’t expect to see a very significant dip," he said.

"We see a slowdown but we expect that over the next 12-18 months demand will recover and the price pressure will ease a little when the consumer has moved back to branded products again."

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By: Andy Brice
+44 20 8652 3214

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