The group recently announced that the purchase of US group New Season Foods (NSF) will give it greater control over its raw ingredients supply chain for its soup subsidiary Knorr. The acquisition represents the type of stategy that processors are taking in response to the growing competitive pressure to reduce the cost and efficiency of their supply chains. As a result of acquiring NSF's planting and manufacturing capabilities, Ajinomoto now has three regional supply bases for both the production and development of food ingredients. NSF produces sweet corn powder, a vital ingredient for the Knorr's soups ranges. The acquisition represents a significant step for Knorr in maintaining a stable supply of ingredients to markets like Japan and China, the company said. "The Ajinimoto group is moving toward global internalisation of strategic processed ingredients in the core soup business as part of its commitment to offering the most delicious foods and healthy lifestyles to people around the world," the company stated. The strength of these emerging markets has not gone unnoticed however by Ajinomoto's rivals, particularly in the market for soup and dry products. Unilever last month revealed it was shifting production of its dry foods ranges to its Tatura plant in Australia from the US to better supply Asian pacific demand. The move will allow the company to make its popular international brands like Cup-a-Soup, Pasta & Sauce and other recipe mixes in the country, under the same roof as its Lipton ice tea and condiment ranges.