Wacker delivers Chinese lab facilities serving confectionery and bakery ranges

German-based industry solutions and ingredients business Wacker Chemie is expanding its Chinese operations, after developing a laboratory in Shanghai serving markets including the confectionery and bakery sectors.

The Munich-headquartered chemical company said its specialised facilities will enable it to provide customers in Asia with greater support in creating innovative, customised products in the fast-growing food market.

According to the company, the lab’s focus will be on ingredients including egg-free baked goods, whipped toppings or fun and chewing-gum applications, for instance mouldable sugar-free gum, as well as beverages.

As Wacker noted, Asia’s food market is flourishing, and China’s food industry, in particular, is profiting from the strong purchasing power of its middle class. At the same time, the sector must face new challenges. Consumers are attaching ever-greater importance to healthy and sustainable nutrition, as well as products that are quick and easy to prepare.

The company has operated a subsidiary in China for over 25 years, now employing more than 1,000 people. With revenues of more than €1 billion, the country represents its largest single market and gains around a fifth of its annual revenues from the territory.

“We offer solutions to challenges currently facing the food industry,” says Dr. Gerhard Schmid, president of  Wacker Biosolutions. “With our new range of services in Shanghai, we are strengthening our position as an innovative partner to the food sector on the Chinese market.”

The Wacker Shanghai Centre, the headquarters of the company’s greater China subsidiary, already houses a regional technical competence facility, where the company’s experts tailor silicone and polymer products to the specific requirements of their Chinese customers. The centre now also boasts an applications laboratory for food-sector customers.

“China is already the world’s largest market for food and beverages. And its growth continues to be strong. With our new lab for food applications, we are able to accommodate our local customers’ needs even better,” says Paul Lindblad, president of Wacker Greater China. “We offer support in developing innovative solutions that satisfy consumer tastes and expectations.”

The new laboratory, which covers an area of some 150 square meters, focuses primarily on applications involving cyclodextrins, cyclodextrin complexes and cysteine, as well as chewing-gum applications.

Cyclodextrins are ring-shaped sugar molecules, that the company’s bioengineers from plant-based raw materials such as corn or potato. They have different functionalities to be used in different food applications, such as dairy, bakery, desserts and sauces to make them free from animal-based emulsifiers, cholesterol or solid fats.

In terms of its gum application, the company’s solid resins Polyvinyl Acetate make it possible to produce top-grade chewing-gum. Its breakthrough in the sector came with its recently released Candy2Gum technology to enable delivery of sugar free ranges with depositing technology to make the chewing gum in different shapes.

Moreover, the company’s specialists have developed the world’s first 3D-printing gum technology. The 3D printer that is available in the new food lab in Shanghai can be used to produce tailor made gum in specially designed colour, shape and flavour. This opens up entirely new possibilities for the confectionery industry.

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