A new sweetener supplier in the US claims to allow food and beverage firms to access ingredient supplies from low-cost manufacturing countries while maintaining Western standards of quality and service.
Set up in September this year by a group of experts in the food industry, The Ingredient House (TIH) recently announced its first exclusive marketing agreement with China's Vitasweet.
The new arrangement covers sales and distribution of acesulfame potassium (Ace-K) and aspartame in North America and a number of global customers in other markets. TIH said it plans to work together with Vitasweet on the promotion of the two products, under the TIH brand name RightSweet.
The firm said it plans to add more sweetener products to its portfolio within the first quarter of next year, and will then also move into supplying other types of ingredients.
According to TIH, every production batch it distributes is checked by an independent food laboratory to ensure that the quality meets internationally recognized specifications.
"People always question the consistency of the quality of a product coming out of China," said the firm's chief executive officer Graham Hall.
"We saw a gap in the communication and understanding between manufacturers in low-cost countries and Western buyers. A lot of manufacturers in these countries have trouble understanding what a Western-style buyer is looking for. Our attempt is to communicate those needs, and bridge that gap by offering the sales, service, marketing and technical support that has been lacking," he told FoodNavigator-USA.com.
According to Hall, the reaction so far in the US has been "very encouraging" , with manufacturers embracing the combination of low cost options, security of supply and quality, and professionally recognized support.
"What we're doing is really helping to qualify another supplier. This gives buyers another option, one they know they can trust because of the security of supply aspects we have taken care of," he said.
Although the company is relatively new, it hopes that by next year it will sell quantities that will allow it to become a viable second source on some contracts. By 2010 it aims to have taken a more significant market share.
For the time being, TIH is selling its RightSweet brand products individually or as custom blends, which it says provides customers with the option of having the two sweeteners delivered as a single product.
For more information, click here .