Danisco’s Madison plant expansion underway

By Caroline Scott-Thomas

- Last updated on GMT

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Danisco has started expansion of its cultures plant in Madison, Wisconsin, which it says responds to increased demand for direct vat inoculants (DVI) cultures in the US.

DVI cultures have become increasingly popular with cheese and yogurt manufacturers during the global recession, as they seek ways to raise productivity. The reason for this is that DVI cultures, although more expensive than traditional bulk starter cultures, reduce wastage and increase yield.

DVI systems are also designed to combat bacteriophage – an age-old problem in dairy production that kills bacteria, thereby slowing the production process – by enabling manufacturers to rotate cultures. Traditional bulk starters are less easy to rotate, so it is said that the risk is higher.

Danisco said that the expansion will increase the size of the Madison plant by about a third, adding new ultra-cold storage facilities, pelletizing production rooms, shipping area, offices and maintenance shop. Part of a $90m investment in cultures plants worldwide, the expanded facilities are expected to be in operation by August 2010.

Cultures division executive vice president Doug Willrett said in a statement: “This investment reflects the strong commitment that Danisco has always demonstrated to Madison since acquiring local operations in 2004.”

Indeed, the company has made considerable investment, not only at the Madison plant, but across its cultures business worldwide. The $90m expansion budget is equal to 23 percent of Danisco Cultures’ revenue for full year 2008/9. It has been earmarked to expand the Madison site as well as another existing site in Niebüll, Germany, and to convert a Genecor enzyme plant in Rochester, New York to cultures.

Danisco completed expansion of a probiotic facility in Madison back in 2007, as consumer interest in probiotic dairy skyrocketed.

No one from the company was available to provide further comment on the current expansion effort prior to publication.

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