TAPPING into lucrative markets including alternative meat products and lactoferrin extract from milk will continue the rise of the juggernaut Beston Global Food Company, based at Murray Bridge.
Speaking at a Rural Media SA luncheon on Thursday last week, Beston Global Food Company chairman Roger Sexton outlined the company's rapid growth in the past five years.
The company bought a series of struggling dairy farms and facilities less than five years ago and has since transformed into a leading Australian-based food supplier with an annual turnover of $100 million.
Dr Sexton said the company had spent the several years fixing up assets, spending $28 million on its Jervois processing plant, and taking its cheese production capacity from zero to 30,000 tonnes a year.
"We have a world-class mozzarella factory, five strategically-located dairy farms, have won 122 domestic and international awards, and have a meat processing business in Shepparton, Vic, which we're looking to expand," he said.
Beston Foods has enjoyed year-on-year revenue growth of 65 per cent each year since it started, far exceeding its initial annual growth target of 20pc.
That rapid growth looks set to continue, with the company targeting lucrative emerging food markets.
"Over at Shepparton, Vic, with Provincial Foods, we spent $8m to bring in the latest technology in alternative meat equipment from the United States," Dr Sexton said.
He said Beston was using that equipment to make products like vegetarian sausages and vegetarian burgers for Soulfresh, which sells into Woolworths supermarkets. Beston is also in the process of getting its own propriety products and expanding production.
"It is a rapidly-growing food market around the world," Dr Sexton said.
"The UBS (a global investment bank) has recently done some research and estimate the alternative meat market could be worth about $50 billion by 2050."
Beston also plans on being the biggest lactoferrin extractor, after buying a plant that was connected to one of its dairy facilities.
Lactoferrin is an iron-building protein found in cow milk, sought after for its anti-fungal, anti-viral and antibacterial properties, and is extracted from whey during the cheesemaking procedure.
"We bought the lactoferrin plant for $7m and that has already been a jewel in the crown but is going to be even more so as we go forward," Dr Sexton said.
"We're just completing an upgrade of that plant. We've brought out new resin from Denmark that's been put in and we've put in new stainless steel parts at a cost of about $10m.
"Lactoferrin is selling on the marketplace for $2400 a kilogram. It's used in pharmaceuticals, cough mixtures, infant formula and there is a worldwide shortage of it.
"When we bought the plant it was selling for $250/kg - it's now $2400/kg and the coronavirus has caused demand to rise even more."
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