Tasting is still believing

Oscar Goddijn congratulates Andy Ohmes with his new assignment as CEO of Avansya

Oscar Goddijn, CEO, as he steps down and hands the reigns to Andrew Ohmes of Cargill

Since Avansya’s establishment in 2019, our journey has been marked by both gratifying wins and difficult challenges. Taking a moment to reflect on these three years, as I step down from my role as CEO, reveals just how much progress this hard-working team has made. Milestone after milestone, we stayed true to our promise to bring zero-calorie, great-tasting, non-artificial – and dare I say game-changing – fermentative Stevia sweeteners to society in a sustainable way. We are still working to fulfill this purpose, and the future looks as promising as ever as my successor, Andrew Ohmes, takes over as CEO.

Hitting the sweet spot

From the start dsm-firmenich and Cargill have steered Avansya as one team committed to this shared purpose. Building from the ground up, and using our complementary strengths, we have laid the foundation for success. Our production team has proven our fermentation technology and achieved the sweet spot between scale and cost. Our R&D team tackled ambitious targets year after year and continues to collaborate with customers on new products and applications for our flagship product, EVERSWEET®. In fact we just recently developed solutions to bring EVERSWEET® into the fountain beverage and chocolate industries – two very exciting applications with lots of opportunity.

This momentum continues to propel our market traction – we have doubled our turnover each year, and we are securing further regulatory approvals to register EVERSWEET® in new markets. These have not been the easiest years to grow a new business, and yet customer uptake is robust. In part this is because our promise and purpose remain unchanged, and we continue to work hard to deliver on it. But there is also an elevated and more urgent conversation about health and diet, and by extension sugar reduction, happening in the wake of the pandemic.

An urgent need takes center stage

Increasingly our direct customers, as well as consumers, are more convinced of the need to take action on sugar reduction. Those struggling with weight management faced even tougher challenges as a result of COVID, and this ripple effect continues. Meanwhile there is increasing scrutiny of artificial sweeteners, and their impact on people as well as the planet. These forces are coming together and shining a spotlight on the need for an entirely new kind of natural sweetener that can be produced sustainably and in volume.

Meeting this need has always been at the core of what we do here. But this more intense spotlight is also shifting the way we approach sustainability in our industry. We are examining it from many angles – supply, energy consumption, production – and this analysis is becoming more ingrained in how we bring new products to the market. It’s a thought process that we are happy to support and guide with customers. In my view this is a confident step in the right direction – to look at the full lifecycle, share facts and figures, and challenge each other to do good for people and planet.

Delivering the ‘wow’ factor

At Avansya we have always been proud to share our story with customers. It resonates more today than ever. But we have also always known that when it comes to food and beverage, taste really matters. For EVERSWEET®, it must be spot on – especially in the products where we see robust traction: Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, energy bars, cereal, protein drinks, dairy … the list goes on, and the taste has to deliver the ‘wow’ factor. Early on we found that tasting is believing when it comes to EVERSWEET® – and I’m proud to say that it still is. It’s so gratifying to see customers experience that moment when they realize EVERSWEET® is the real deal. And with so many new and more complex applications in development, the possibilities seem limitless.

As ever, Avansya is committed to delivering sugar reduction solutions that make a positive contribution to society by supporting healthier lives for people and respecting our planet. With our steadfast belief in this purpose, and with a new leader guiding us forward, I believe the future looks incredibly sweet.  

A year of sustainable sweetness

Oscar Goddijn, CEO, reflecting on a year of collaboration, scale-up and market momentum

The creation of Avansya in March 2019 brought together dsm-firmenich 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-firmenich’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-firmenich 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.

Cargill – dsm-firmenich joint venture Avansya starts commercial-scale production of EVERSWEET™ stevia sweetener, as consumers increasingly demand reduced-calorie food and beverages

Wayzata (MN), US, & Heerlen, NL, 14 Nov 2019 13:00 CST/20:00 CET

As consumers continue to watch their calorie intake and strive to live a healthier lifestyle, food and beverage manufacturers are in need of great-tasting, zero-calorie sweeteners to help them achieve these goals. To meet this demand, Avansya, the joint venture between Cargill and dsm-firmenich, has today started production at the first commercial-scale fermentation facility for stevia sweeteners in the U.S. The facility is producing EVERSWEET™, a non-artificial, zero-calorie stevia sweetener.

Cargil l- dsm-firmenich joint venture Avansya starts commercial-scale production of EVERSWEET™ stevia sweetener, as consumers increasingly demand reduced-calorie food and beverages | dsm-firmenich

The $50 million fermentation facility is located in Blair, Nebraska, and is operated by Cargill. It produces highly sought-after, sweet-tasting molecules, such as Reb M and Reb D used to make EVERSWEET™, and gives food and beverage manufacturers an even more scalable, sustainable and low cost-in-use solution than if these molecules were extracted from the stevia leaf. The market for high-intensity sweeteners produced by fermentation is expected to exceed $3 billion by 2025.

Speaking at the opening, Cargill managing director and chairman of the Board of Avansya, Mike Wagner said: “Building this first-of-its-kind, stevia sweetener fermentation facility on the existing Cargill Blair campus reaffirms our pledge to helping food and beverage manufacturers meet the sharply rising consumer demand for great-tasting, zero-calorie products to meet their dietary needs and goals. It also reaffirms our commitment to strengthening the business community and Nebraska as a biotechnology mecca.”

“The need for effective solutions for advanced sugar reduction on a global scale has never been clearer or more urgent. With today’s opening, we are showing that, as an industry, we can do more, and faster, to innovate and provide consumers around the world with reduced- and zero-calorie food and beverage products, with no compromise on taste, and so help support good health and well-being in our societies,” said Patrick Niels, President of dsm-firmenich Food Specialties and Avansya Board Member.

EVERSWEET™ clean taste profile is well-suited for use in products such as yogurt, chocolate milk, soft drinks, ice cream, cereal, bars and confections. Avansya has commercial volumes available and is already supplying EVERSWEET™ to various customers. Further consumer products will launch in the coming months across multiple market segments. Over 300 customer trials and product development projects are currently in progress.

EVERSWEET™ is GRAS and FEMA GRAS approved for use in food and beverage products in the U.S. and Mexico and additional regulatory approvals for use in other countries are underway.

Lieutenant Governor of Nebraska Mike Foley took part in the opening ceremony: “We are very pleased to see Cargill and dsm-firmenich once again selecting the Blair Campus to invest in the production of innovative solutions that are going to make a difference to people’s lives. We have a great tradition of supporting the food and beverage industry with strong partnerships, skilled workers and high-quality products, and I’m proud to continue that tradition today.”

The 10,000 square-foot, stevia sweetener fermentation facility at the Blair Campus took approximately 225,000 hours to build and features 6 miles of new piping and 2,000 new instruments, in addition to the fermenters and evaporators that were installed.

Cargill and dsm-firmenich announce start of Avansya

Heerlen, NL, 01 Mar 2019 15:00 CET

Cargill and dsm-firmenich, two major players in food and beverage industry, today announced the establishment of Avansya V.O.F. The 50:50 joint venture is a partnership between Cargill and dsm-firmenich. Both parties announced their intention to establish this joint venture on 8 November 2018 subject to regulatory approvals. Avansya will produce zero-calorie, great-tasting sweeteners through fermentation and will be headquartered at the Biotech Campus Delft (Netherlands).

As food and beverage producers look to significantly reduce calories in their offerings to consumers, they are in need of non-artificial, zero-calorie, great-tasting sweetener options. Avansya will produce highly sought-after, sweet-tasting molecules, such as steviol glycosides Reb M and Reb D through fermentation, giving food and beverage manufacturers an even more scalable, sustainable and low cost-in-use solution than if these same molecules were extracted from the stevia leaf. Avansya’s sweeteners will be produced at a fermentation facility at the Cargill site in Blair and Avansya will market its sweeteners under the EVERSWEET™ brand.

Oscar Goddijn will serve as CEO for Avansya and Andrew Ohmes as VP Marketing & Sales. Biotechnologist Goddijn has been with dsm-firmenich for more than 16 years, most recently as Vice President Stevia & Sugar Reduction Products. Ohmes continues to be globally responsible for high intensity sweeteners at Cargill, where he has built his career since 2000, in addition to his VP Marketing & Sales role for Avansya.

Cargill and dsm-firmenich to establish joint venture to bring zero-calorie, cost-effective sweeteners to market faster

Avansya venture to help food and beverage producers deliver the products and brands consumers love, with significantly reduced calories

As food and beverage producers look to significantly reduce calories in their offerings to consumers, they are in need of non-artificial, zero-calorie, great-tasting sweetener options. Today, Cargill and Royal dsm-firmenich, a global science-based company in Nutrition, Health and Sustainable Living, announced a new joint venture, Avansya, to rise to this challenge. Together, the companies will produce highly sought-after, sweet-tasting molecules, such as steviol glycosides Reb M and Reb D through fermentation, giving food and beverage manufacturers an even more scalable, sustainable and low cost-in-use solution than if these same molecules were extracted from the stevia leaf.

The new venture will combine both companies’ technologies for producing steviol glycoside products made through fermentation and will market its products under one brand name, EVERSWEET™.

The joint venture will be a 50-50 partnership between the two companies. The establishment of the joint venture is subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions but expected to be finalized in the first calendar quarter of 2019.

The partnership leverages the two companies’ highly complementary strengths for bringing to market fermentation-derived Reb M and Reb D steviol glycosides:

dsm-firmenich brings its leading biotechnology know-how, providing R&D expertise, including strain development and fermentation process development capabilities, as well as customer relationships in specific market segments;

Cargill brings its unrivalled application expertise and global commercial footprint in the sweetener market, as well as large-scale fermentation capacity with access to co-located, raw material suppliers at its Blair, Nebraska (USA) site.

The joint venture will make use of a new fermentation facility being built at the site in Blair, which is expected to be completed and operating in summer 2019.

“We are delighted to announce this game-changing joint venture with Cargill,” said dsm-firmenich Food Specialties President, Patrick Niels. “One of the most significant transformations in global food & beverage markets is the drive to reduce sugar in people’s diets. This partnership will allow us to bring sustainably produced sugar-reduction solutions based on steviol glycosides to market faster and more effectively at a scale to deliver global impact. Both dsm-firmenich and Cargill are purpose-led companies. We want to positively impact our societies, enable our customers’ brands and businesses to be successful in their markets, and in doing so support our own further growth.”

“The demand for sugar-reduction solutions is urgent, global, and growing fast,” said Cargill Vice President Food Segment North America, Chris Simons. “While consumers are searching out foods and beverages that help meet their dietary needs or goals, whether for a diabetic diet or simply reducing calories and sugar intake, brand-owners know that great taste can’t be compromised. By partnering with dsm-firmenich, we can further advance a commercialized Reb M & Reb D product line that offers what consumers desire.”


[email protected]

Avansya V.O.F.

A Joint Venture of Cargill and DSM
Alexander Fleminglaan 1, 2613 AX Delft, The Netherlands

P.O. Box 1, 2600 MA Delft, The Netherlands