In 1993 Hydrosol entered the market with just one product. Since then, this Stern-Wywiol Gruppe subsidiary has grown to become an internationally leading provider of system solutions in the ingredients business. The company makes hundreds of stabilising and texturing systems for all sorts of applications and markets, and signs point to further growth going forward. Because as Hydrosol CEO Dr Matthias Moser explains, food technology is one of the key technologies and influencer industries of the 21st century.
New ideas, new markets – a slogan under which Hydrosol develops and produces tailor-made stabiliser and texturing systems for dairy, meat, sausage and fish products, deli foods, ice cream and beverages. As Dr Moser explains, a nose for trends is the key to success: “We closely monitor food trends in the world’s markets and develop the perfect solutions to meet our customers’ individual needs.” For example, Hydrosol was one of the first suppliers to offer clean label solutions for dairy products, just over ten years ago. The company also addressed the high-protein trend with various concepts, followed by plant-based alternatives to meat and dairy products. The company now offers a wide range of solutions in this area, from various alternatives for milk products, cheese and ice cream, to vegan cold cuts and plant-based sausages for eating hot and cold, to all-in compounds for vegan burger patties and vegan nuggets, schnitzel, fish sticks and other breaded products.
Enjoyment – the decisive purchase criterion
Sugar and fat-reduced products are another current focus. Demands are becoming more rigorous in Europe and worldwide. The ominous increase in obesity on all five continents is driving governments to mandate new solutions from retail and industry. The challenge here is to replicate the positive technological properties of sugar and fat through intelligent stabilising and texturing systems. “Healthy nutrition only works when people enjoy eating it,” says Dr Moser. “The flavour, texture and mouth feel have to be right, otherwise consumers won’t buy a product a second time.”
So for Hydrosol, intensive research and development are fundamental to successful product ideas. “We pay special attention to the synergy effects between individual components. An understanding of the interactions among hydrocolloids, proteins, fibres and other ingredients is the key to quality results,” noted the company CEO. “We see time and time again that these synergistic complexes give much better results than single ingredients. Our broad-based applications technology at the Stern-Technology Center is thus central to our successful product solutions.”
This is especially important for the supply of future generations with safe, affordable and good-tasting foods, one of the central challenges facing the Food Ingredients industry as a whole. Dr Moser comments, “We’re already hard at work on ideas with high potential to ensure adequate supplies of proteins in future. This includes a wide variety of plant proteins, as well as alternative animal sources such as insects. We’re also focusing on sustainable concepts for making better use of raw materials. Because there is valuable protein not just in filet, but also in by-products like trimmings or whey.” These can also be used to make high-quality foods, as shown by the company’s stabilising and texturing systems that enable the production of fermented desserts and other attractive products from sweet and acid whey.
Hydrosol has expanded steadily since its founding. The portfolio is constantly growing and the headcount has risen enormously. Added space and new pilot plants offer more possibilities. The company plans to continue this expansion course, as Dr Moser explains: “Our ambitions are growing. Today the Stern-Wywiol Gruppe has consolidated sales of 520 million euros. Our bold objective going forward is to grow by ten percent annually. Hydrosol is a very important part of that within the Group. In order to increase our already high growth potential we are focusing on internationalisation and food safety.”
After successfully expanding the sales team to 16 foreign subsidiaries and numerous qualified representatives, the company is now building out its production capacity at its worldwide locations, especially in Southeast Asia, China, Latin America and the US. “By 2025 we will have greatly expanded our existing local presence there,” says Dr Moser. “This strategy is driven by the growing worldwide demand for healthy, safe, and affordable food. Alongside the EU market with its strong demand for premium products, going forward we will focus more strongly on the burgeoning middle classes in the emerging markets. Our system solutions support both the supply of food and its local production. Our all-in compounds simplify the industrial manufacture of food, improving food availability in low-technology countries in particular.”