Custom turns functional after Kerry acquisition

By Lorraine Heller

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Kerry, Milk, Saturated fat

Bakery ingredient firm Custom Industries was showcasing its
products in 'functional' baked goods for the first time last week
at the IFT show in Orlando, demonstrating the change in direction
the company has taken since its recent acquisition by ingredients
giant Kerry Foods.

The firm, which has around 125 employees, specializes in decorative products for use in bakery applications, such as sprinkles, crunchlets and shapes.

But since its acquisition by Kerry in March this year, the firm is also bringing functional concepts to its customer base, while providing a convenient introduction into the US bakery market for its parent company.

"Kerry entered the bakery market when it bought us. Now we are combining both of our technologies to create new concepts and ideas,"​ said Martin McKinney, the company's vice president of sales.

Irish firm Kerry Foods acquired Custom Industries at the same time as its acquisition of Nuvex Ingredients, in a move designed to expand its presence in the US.

The two companies, which have annual revenues of $83.7m, were acquired for $83m.

"These acquisitions were relatively small in size but very important. We have been growing steadily in these sectors and want to continue to strengthen and grow,"​ said Frank Hayes, director of corporate affairs at Kerry at the time of the acquisition.

"It's been a learning process for us because Kerry is so large. We'll be taking all of Kerry's functional concepts to our bakery clients,"​ McKinney told FoodNavigator-USA.com at the IFT last week.

At the IFT this year, Custom Industries was demonstrating its new collaboration with Kerry through products including pizza bagels. These were made with Kerry's functional soy powder and Custom's cheese, tomato and green pepper crunchlets. According to the firm, the product is designed to act as a meal or meat alternative for school lunchboxes as it delivers a good source of protein.

Also on show was a tropical cookie, made with Kerry's soy nuts and high-protein chocolate compound coating together with Custom's Mango, pineapple, nut-free macadamia bits. The product carries a 0g trans fat claim and contains less than 1g saturated fat per serving.

Raspberry-lemon cupcakes were also used to demonstrate a mixture of functional soy powder, specialty lipid powders and raspberry and lemon bits. The product claims to contain 25 percent less egg than similar goods, and was baked using a non-fat dry milk replacer.

Kerry, which first entered the American ingredients market in the 1980's, currently has over 25 facilities in North America, and does not plan to stop there.

"There will be further additions to our business; our development is ongoing. We are actively looking at targets all the time in all our ingredients sectors across all markets,"​ Hayes told FoodNavigator-USA.com in April.

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