We started our journey at one of the most innovative – and rapidly growing – operators in the region: SensoryEffects.
A food and beverage ingredients company that has made 12 acquisitions in seven years, SensoryEffects specializes in Powder Systems (Defiance, OH), Flavor Systems (Bridgeton, Missouri), and Cereal Systems (Lincoln, Nebraska).
Moving away from me-too products
At the Defiance, OH Powder Systems facility, general manager Jim Holdrieth is on a mission to move away from me-too products and focus more on new and emerging applications in the health and wellness arena, providing unique, customized solutions for customers.
While some rivals have larger driers, SensoryEffects has more flexible assets, can handle smaller minimum order quantities and create customized products that are in tune with the more added value markets it is chasing, said Holdrieth, who says customers describe his firm as a “problem solver.”
There is a lot of opportunity in nutritional beverages, where consumer expectations about performance, taste and texture have changed dramatically in recent years, he adds. “They want something that dissolves in seconds.”
On the acquisition trail: We’re looking at 40-50 companies at any one time
But there are also opportunities in the higher volume areas, with the coffee creamer industry under renewed pressure to oust partially hydrogenated soybean oil from formulations, and more demand for non-GMO ingredients, he says.
At a group level, president and CEO Charles A. Nicolais is still on the acquisition trail, adds Holdrieth: “We’re looking at under 100 companies at any one time. Some are very small, but some are much larger.
"The key is whether they bring in new capabilities from an asset, IP point of view – or other attractive features.”