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Enzybel International has been developing and producing plant derived enzymes for several decades. These enzymes can be used as additives in the food industry and replace chemicals. Erwin Kooij, Sales Director at Enzybel, sees a growing demand for these natural food ingredients. Recently Enzybel succeeded as the first company worldwide to extract Ficin, a protease, from fig trees.
Why is the market for plant derived enzymes growing like it nowadays does?
Erwin Kooij: “Food and beverages manufacturers are looking for replacements of chemical ingredients. That’s because you see a lot of organic food platforms coming to the market. That’s what customers are looking for. This has to do with the fact that an important challenge for society is to cope with the impact of a growing population and well-being on nature, the earth and its climate. That’s why this century is the century of a transition to greener, more sustainable processes.”
How can natural ingredients like the plant derived enzymes from Enzybel support this transition?
“Sustainability consists of three components: societal, ecological and economic, also known as people, planet, profit. Nature derived enzymes fit in this concept because they are a very specific catalyst, they work at ambient conditions, for a long time so after the initial cost of buying them, you can use these enzymes for a long time. Besides this they are not toxic and can be extracted from plants or, e.i. pancreatin, from the waste of livestock. All our enzymes are biodegradable, they don’t cause any environmental pollution.”
What role does Enzybel plays in this market?
“Especially our plant derived enzymes are non-GMO and are a natural substitute for chemical ingredients in food and beverage products. As the only one in the world we produce Ficin, a protease that is purified from the latex tree of the fig tree. Ficin is an attractive tool in many industries and have been widely used in food, medicine, biotechnology and pharmacology. In food-industry our products can be used to modify food properties like digestibility, texture flavor and even shelf life of the products.”
Can you tell a bit about food applications for Ficin?
“In the food-industry, ficin is reported to be used for meat tenderizing, cheese production, improvement in the processing of cereals, and in the beverage industry, for stabilization of white wines.”
What is the main challenge for Enzybel?
“Manage growth. The capacity of our five factories around the world is fully used. That inhibits our growth at this moment. So for our management the main challenge is to find opportunities so we can deliver for the growing demand, even with full capacities in our facilities.”