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Malt ingredients company expands into US

By Sarah Hills , 11-Dec-2008

Muntons Malted Ingredients (MMI) has opened its first office in the US to grow sales as it anticipates expanding markets for micro-brewing, whole grains and clean label ingredients.

The UK-based company, which produces malt and malted ingredients, said the US has become an important market and it wants to develop sales across North America, Canada and Mexico.

Malted ingredients are used extensively in a wide variety of food and bakery products and Muntons range of white malt flours, kibbled malts and malted cereal flakes can be offered as whole grain products.

The 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that whole grains account for half of all grains consumed. And according to the Mintel Global New Products Database, in 2007 nearly 15 times as many new whole grain products were introduced worldwide compared to 2000.

MMI marketing manager, Andy Janes, told FoodNavigator-USA.com that there is an increasing focus on whole grains along with changes in awareness and appreciation of health and health issues.

He added: “People are now more concerned with what they are eating.

“There is growing interest for products that can be incorporated into recipes in order to make them healthier products for consumers.”

Muntons also has a range of “ultra dark” malt-based products that can be used by manufacturers “looking to clean up their labels” with ingredients that do not contain E numbers (additives).

Janes said: “They are used as substitutes as an ingredient to achieve bitterness and color in a product rather than putting an additive in to get color.”

One application could be gravy cubes where it is an option instead of caramel.

In addition, the company, which is based in Suffolk in the UK, will also concentrate on what it describes as the “burgeoning homebrew and microbrewery markets”.

Micobreweries make regional brewed or craft beers. Janes said these tend to be ales rather than lagers that appeal to people looking for something a bit richer or more flavorsome than the standard American drink.

The Brewers Association reports that in the first half of 2008 volume of beer sold by craft brewers grew by 6.5 percent totaling, an estimated 4m barrels of beer compared to 3.768m barrels sold in the first half of 2007.

Sales and exports

Muntons exported nearly 47,000 tonnes (51,810 tons U.S.), or nearly 2,000 truckloads of malt and malted ingredients worth over $30m over the last year, made exclusively from raw materials sourced from the UK.

Janes said turnover in 2001 in the US was about $2.2m whereas in 2008 it was $6.7m.

Although there are no plans to produce the ingredients in the US at this stage, Janes did not rule it out and he said: “We will only ever satisfy a niche portion of any given market with UK supply.”

In the mean time the company has distributors who stock and distribute locally in the US into various market sectors, with Terry McNeill now the North American sales manager, based in Seattle, Washington.

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