From A to K, there are 13 vitamins promote our well-being every day. And for 13 years, SternVitamin has been helping consumers stay healthy, developing individual micronutrient premixes that give foods added health value.
It all started with flour enrichment.
“Basically you can say that SternVitamin was born in the laboratory of our sister company Mühlenchemie,” notes Jan Heuer, Head of Business Unit SternVitamin. “The enrichment of staple foods, which is legally mandated in many countries, remains an important business for us. However, the micronutrient enrichment of food products has now also become an effective marketing instrument. There is much greater focus on lifestyle concepts in which beverages, cereals, baked goods and confections are upgraded with special micronutrient combinations.”
Trends like fitness, healthy aging and plant-based nutrition are strong drivers of this, and have high growth potential for the coming years.
“According to projections, by 2050 almost 30% of the European population will be older than 65. The picture is similar in Russia, the US and Canada. In Latin America, the Caribbean and Asia almost 20% of population will have reached retirement age,” adds Kerstin Woldsen, SternVitamin deputy head of business unit and senior technical sales manager. “The wish to stay physically and mentally fit into old age offers many possibilities for attractive product concepts. And this is not just for best agers—prevention starts long before age 60. One example is bone health. Baby boomers as well as Millennials use supplements for it. According to current research, the combination of vitamin K2, vitamin D and calcium is especially promising.”
“Aging well” products include not just special vitamins and minerals, but also more and more secondary plant substances like astaxanthin.
According to Woldsen, soft drinks and milk replacements are ideal for enriching with premixes. SternVitamin offers a wide range of ingredient combinations with selected vitamins, minerals and plant extracts. These mixes are tailored for different health areas, such as mental performance, bones and joints, cardiovascular health and immunity. There are also products for special purposes, ranging from trying for children to individual lifestyles.
Inspired by social media influencers, young consumers especially are going in for strict sport and nutrition regimes aimed at physical fitness and health.
“This is part of the desire for physical self-improvement across all age groups. So it’s no wonder that the market for sport nutrition is growing steadily around the world,” notes Woldsen. “In the past five years annual growth rates have been around 13%. The strongest market growth is in Europe and the MENA countries.”
Plant-based nutrition is another booming area. “The Plant Kingdom” is one of the top trends of 2019, according to Innova Market Insights and others.
“Going by current market research, in 20 years most of the products in the meat products category will not come from animals, but from cell cultures or plant alternatives,” adds Jan Heuer. “We developed SternVEGA for plant-based products. This premix lets our customers add value to their products with nutrients that are critical for vegans in particular.”
Milk replacements and vegan sport foods are the products most frequently enriched with vitamins and minerals, but plant alternatives to meat products are also suitable.
“Given the growing competition, producers increasingly must offer distinctive product concepts that stand out from the rest, if they are to generate more revenue,” says Heuer. “It’s now part of our daily business to develop new, creative approaches together with our customers, that include not just micronutrients but also things like flavorings.”
One great advantage is the company structure within the Stern-Wywiol Gruppe. The close collaboration among the sister companies gives each access to the specialist knowledge of the others, resulting in customer benefit. Another plus point is that as an owner-operated company, SternVitamin can react much faster and more flexibly to customer demand. This is aided by 15 foreign affiliates in the world’s key markets, and specialist partners on the spot.
Germany’s SternVitamin GmbH & Co. KG in Ahrensburg near Hamburg, offers full service in micronutrient premixes. Working to customer requirements, the company develops individual vitamin and mineral combinations that include functional ingredients like amino acids and plant extracts. These micronutrient mixes are suitable for enriching foods, beverages and nutritional supplements.
As a subsidiary of the independent, owner-operated Stern-Wywiol Gruppe, SternVitamin always has access to the concentrated expertise and modern applications technology of its sister companies. These are Mühlenchemie for flour improvers; DeutscheBack for baking ingredients; Hydrosol for stabilizing systems; HERZA Schokolade for functional chocolate pieces and bar production; OlbrichtArom for flavorings; SternEnzym for enzymes (baked goods and confections, alcohol and beer production); and Sternchemie for food lipids (including lecithin, MCT oil, red palm oil and spray-dried coconut milk).
Sister company SternMaid works in the contract manufacture of powdered foods and nutritional supplements.