Oscar Goddijn, CEO, reflecting on a year of collaboration, scale-up and market momentum
The creation of Avansya in March 2019 brought together DSM and Cargill, two food industry leaders with one purpose: to deliver zero-calorie, great tasting, non-artificial fermentative Stevia sweeteners to the market. This was not a small challenge for us to take on, yet both companies saw the positive contribution we could make to society through this joint venture. One year after first establishing Avansya, we see market momentum building – even in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. When you know your product can make a difference to people’s lives, you just can’t wait to team up with brand owners and get it out there!
““Tasting is believing” is something we hear frequently from customers”
A natural pairing makes for steady progress
We started this journey with a strong foundation of complementary strengths: Cargill’s global commercial footprint in sweeteners and large-scale fermentation capacity, and DSM’s deep biotech knowledge and fermentation expertise. Blending these strengths in our operational and functional teams came naturally, and Avansya began to move quickly to fulfill its purpose. I’m wowed by the progress our people have made in just over a year.
We successfully registered Avansya’s first product, EVERSWEET™, in the US and Mexico (and we expect more markets to follow soon), kicking off our global launch. This critical step enabled our team to hit the ground running and connect with customers to explore all the possibilities for EVERSWEET™ to meet their sugar reduction needs. From the start, our promise was not only to deliver a zero-calorie, great tasting product, and help our customers negotiate the often complex art and science behind its applications, but also to produce it sustainably and in significant volume. This promise sets Avansya apart in this competitive market. So when we opened the doors to our operation in Blair, Nebraska – the first large scale facility in the US dedicated to the production of EVERSWEET™ – it was a bold statement: we’re committed to delivering on our promises.
This was an exciting moment for Avansya, as well as for the customers who shared it with us. The scale of what we are doing and the commitment from both DSM and Cargill to make this a success was a clear sign to them and to the market that they can count on us.
When it comes to EVERSWEET™, tasting is believing
As the team continues to share the EVERSWEET™ story with customers, we’re learning more and more about the need in various market segments and seeing its potential to be a real game changer. “Tasting is believing” is something we hear frequently from customers; some are even in disbelief that this is a Stevia-based product! There is often a certain flavor perception of Stevia-derived products in the market, and we’re challenging this by delivering a completely new, next generation taste with EVERSWEET™. I think it’s fair to say that there’s a ‘wow’ factor, and this taste experience is driving some really exciting conversations with customers about formulating new products with EVERSWEET™.
Some of these products are already hitting supermarket shelves in segments such as dairy products, cereals and low-calorie hard seltzers. It feels like we’re hitting our stride, and I believe this is thanks to our outside-in approach of starting with what consumers want: calorie-free sweetness that tastes like sugar, no compromises. Together with our customers, we look forward to hearing much more from consumers about how EVERSWEET™ helps them cut calories without compromise.
Innovation that can delight and deliver what we most need
The progress of the past year has been exceptionally gratifying to this hard-working team. Yet who would have thought a year ago that our societies and industries would be confronted with the current COVID-19 crisis? We too are having to navigate some uncertainties around the shape of the market and its dynamics. There’s a natural and understandable response to hunker down and wait it out. But I think innovation can continue; in fact, it really must. We’re just at the start of meeting the broader need for sugar reduction in our diets, and I’m convinced that this need will only increase. Avansya can play an important role here by enabling customers to develop new products that fulfill this need in our society for healthier foods that don’t compromise on taste.
Our journey is just getting started, and with key building blocks in place and positive momentum, we’re on track to hit the sweet spot.
If you’re interested in learning more about how the next-generation of zero-calorie, great-tasting sweetness can help your products and brands captivate consumers, feel free to reach out to me and the team.