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Fi Europe is no stranger to big announcements, but usually they are about new ingredients rather than whole new ingredients companies.
This year's show will be the launch pad for Scelta Inside, a new sister company to Scelta Mushrooms that will focus entirely on mushroom-derived ingredients with functional benefits.Bart Bakker, newly-appointed Managing Director of Scelta Inside, explains the company's mission and portfolio, and how it is responding to key industry trends.
Tell us more about the new company
"Scelta Inside is specialised on mushroom-based ingredients with a function, such as, for example, creating umami within products, flavour enhancement, masking and sugar/salt replacement. Scelta Mushrooms, on the other hand, works with the whole mushroom for the worldwide food industry."
"The 'Inside' refers to our delivery of functional ingredients that product developers and R&D people can use to increase the benefit to consumers, for health or for pleasure. We believe that healthy food still needs to be pleasurable. All our products help to increase taste but at the same time deliver functional benefits."
"Our biggest portfolio consists of ingredients to increase umami. These have already been available for about eight years from Scelta Mushrooms, but bringing them into a separate company means we can give them more focus and accelerate product development."
What are the benefits of being part of the Scelta group?
"Working within the Scelta Mushrooms family, we use side-streams of mushroom products from other factories. This taps into the trend for reducing waste and means we are a circular company and very future-proof."
"We are drawing on ‒ and keeping ‒ the knowledge from Scelta Mushrooms. Scelta Inside will have a staff of about eight initially, most of whom will move over from the umbrella company."
Why is Fi Europe the ideal moment to introduce Scelta Inside?
"Fi Europe is really a communication platform to present ourselves, and to have a dialogue with existing customers that we don't often see face to face about the new company and what it will bring them."
"Of course we hope to gain a lot of brand awareness for Scelta Inside, and to attract the right people to come and talk to us and to taste samples prepared by our chef."
"We will also talk to the wider industry about current and future needs, so we can make sure our portfolio fulfils those needs."
What will be the big trends at Fi Europe, and how are you addressing to them?
"Sugar reduction, salt reduction, and flavour enhancement are key."
"In my former life I was a CEO of a company that made savoury snacks. My product developers had a tough time lowering salt levels or reducing monosodium glutamate (MSG) while still delivering good tasting products to the market. You can reduce them, but if the product doesn't taste right your business is suffering."
"A lot of people do not understand fully the concept of umami, but it is proven that it works to enhance flavour. We see there is a whole world to capture still in the concept of umami."
"We are exhibiting at Fi Europe as part of the Plant-based Pavilion. An ongoing, global theme will be the transformation from animal to plant-based proteins. However we also see a growing realisation that people worldwide suffer from a vitamin D deficit, and as a company we strive to work towards solutions on this topic. Other big industry themes will be protein and fibre, which contribute towards health propositions for the food industry and customers."
Can you give us a hint of what is in your R&D pipeline?
"One of the ingredients we will be showing is a vitamin D powder derived from mushrooms, which can be worked into the recipes for many different food products ‒ from soups, to sauces, to meat."
"Mushrooms have a great capacity to store vitamin D. We have a very innovative production process, where we expose the mushrooms to UVB light and the naturally-occurring ergosterol develops into vitamin D. We are aiming to bring this to the market in 2020, as vitamin D deficit is a big problem for humans, especially in the winter time."
"As for other innovations, it is too early to say but maybe in December we can surprise you. We are working on them right now."
Scelta Inside will be exhibiting in Hall 7, Stand T142