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Diana Food (part of the Symrise Group), a leader in natural ingredients for Food & Beverages, announces that the company has organized and instituted on June 24 a new training session specifically for farmers located in the French Alps who supply fruits for baby food.

The program, which focuses on best practices for soil biodiversity, is designed to improve the quality and yield of the key crops used in baby foods.

Many farmers follow traditional agronomy practices passed down from previous generations, with limited awareness of how a deeper understanding of the nature of their soil can improve output. With this training, Diana Food agronomists are able to show farmers the role soil plays in producing fruits and vegetables that capture all the inherent goodness of their terroir. By combining this new technical knowledge with the farmers’ traditional methods, yield quality is very high.

According to Aurélie Pellé, Global Fruit Product Line Director at Diana Food, “Consumers are looking for products for their babies that are as close as possible to homemade. They want baby foods that are natural, clean, and simple with no added flavours, colours, or preservatives. This is why agronomy is so important to the category. Growing the best, cleanest fruits and vegetables allows minimal processing and an end product that is very close to what nature intended.”

Diana Food offers a large range of baby food ingredients that support the specific nutritional needs of children in the age groups of 6 months to 3 years, beginning with the introduction of solid foods into the diet. Fruit product streams include banana, apple, and strawberry; vegetable streams include carrot, tomato, and spinach. Diana Food production sites are FSC 22000 certified, which enables the company to provide ingredients that meet the health and safety standards this category demands: very low levels of contaminants, low microbiology levels, and low levels of chemical contaminants and foreign bodies.

Consumer demand for organic ingredients is extremely high in the baby food category, with organic products more prevalent in the market than any other category. The Diana Food Baby Food portfolio meets this demand, with organic certification compliant with the European, American and Chinese markets.

Excellence in agronomy is at the foundation of Diana Food’s value proposition. Thanks to the company’s historical know-how, expertise and global network of agronomic experts, Diana Food is able to select the best varieties and the best growing conditions in order to maximize the potential of the species. With proximity to farmers and producers, Diana Food agronomists are fully involved in the cultivation cycle, guaranteeing traceability, transparency, and sustainability of agricultural practices. This expertise and experience from farm to fark makes Diana Food a trusted partner for developing wining solutions for Baby Food manufacturers.

The fruit, starch and sugar group AGRANA is expanding its distribution activities in its starch segment and has acquired 100 % of shares in the US distribution company Marroquin Organic International Inc. based in Santa Cruz (California). Marroquin Organic has 29 years of experience supplying organic and non-GMO ingredients and has grown to over $20 Million in annual revenue. Marroquin Organic International is a long-standing distribution partner of AGRANA Stärke-GmbH.

AGRANA CEO Johann Marihart: “Marroquin Organic International is a pioneer in the organic and non-GMO food ingredient sector in the USA and enjoys a correspondingly high reputation in the market. This acquisition is a perfect fit in terms of implementing our specialities strategy in the starch segment. AGRANA possesses many years of experience in the production of specialty starches and is increasingly focusing on baby food and clean label starches which have not been chemically modified. The organic origins and non-GMO status of our products are increasingly appreciated by customers and users alike, particularly in the USA where, with starch largely being based on genetically-modified corn, demand for non-GMO starches is rising.” With a volume of USD 17 billion (2017), the US market for packaged organic foods, the world’s largest according to Euromonitor, is forecast to grow 8.2% per year in the period to 2023.

Grace Marroquin, founder of Marroquin Organic International: “Teaming up with AGRANA is a natural choice for us. We’ve been working with their outstanding product line for over 20 years, helping the industry to grow and innovate. AGRANA is well-positioned to support the organic and non-GMO market as it continues to grow in North America”. Marroquin Organic International was founded by Grace Marroquin in 1991, when she recognized the need for certified organic, specialty ingredients in the US market.

Specialities strategy

In its starch segment, AGRANA processes potatoes, corn and wheat to make numerous different starch products for the food, cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries as well as for numerous technical applications. With three starch mills in Austria and a production site in both Hungary and Romania respectively, AGRANA has established itself as a key producer of customer-oriented speciality products. As part of its specialities strategy, AGRANA offers the food industry a wide range of non-GMO and organic products.