Oterra is building a natural color empire with trio of acquisitions including Food Ingredient Solutions

By Elizabeth Crawford

- Last updated on GMT

Source: Getty/Massonstock
Source: Getty/Massonstock

Related tags Color Natural colors

Natural color supplier Oterra continues its shopping spree as it strives to become a leading force in the highly fragmented food color segment with the acquisitions of Food Ingredient Solutions and Diana Foods – both of which expand its global footprint.

The deals, both completed in in December, follow Oterra’s bolt-on acquisition of SECNA Natural Ingredients Group S.L. in Europe last spring, and together they make good on the promise private equity firm EQT made when it acquired the business from Chr. Hansen for $940m in October.

Already a well-established player in the natural color market when acquired​ by EQT, Oterra – then known as Chr. Hansen Natural Colors – provides a strong base for creating a global business. Before the addition of Food Ingredient Solutions, Diana Foods and SECNA, Oterra had more than 1,600 customers in the food and beverage industry and strong organic growth of around 9% annually for the five years leading up to 2018/19, according to EQT.

Food Ingredient Solutions opens door to US market

With the addition of Food Ingredient Solutions, Oterra gains a foothold in the US with two certified processing facilities in New Jersey and Missouri that serve more than 400 customers annually, according to EQT.

“North America is one of the fastest growing natural colors markets, and this acquisition puts Oterra in ta great position to further support our customers in the conversion towards natural colors,”​ Oterra chairman Cees de Jong said in a statement.

Indeed, Zion Market Research​ characterizes the North American market as ruler of the regional natural coloring markets as of 2018 “due to the most important number of health-related user bases within the area paired with the need for clean and healthy label food items.”

It adds that the natural color market, which it estimates is worth $2.3bn in 2020 and expected to increase at a compound annual rate of 3.1% to $3bn by 2028, is growing fastest in Asia Pacific thanks to rising demand for natural colors for ready-to-eat foods in China and India. It also predicts rapid development in the center East and Latin America – potentially making them strategic locations for potential additional acquisitions.

Diana Foods provides access to red beet, organic colors

EQT also noted Food Ingredient Solutions will create “meaningful synergies” with Oterra’s other recent acquisition of Diana Foods, which was completed Dec. 29, and brought the business two sites in France and UK.

Beyond bolstering Oterra’s facility count, Diana Foods brought the company a line of USDA and EU organic certified colors and “strengthen the company’s backwards integration of red beet,” ​according to EQT.

“Diana Food’s is the king of red beet, having grown them for natural coloring for more than 30 years,”​ in which it has also cultivated a deep expertise and delivered measurable innovation, Oterra CEO Erik Hansen said in a release announcing the deal’s closing.

This will build on the beet business brought on through the previous acquisition of SECNA Natural Ingredients, which makes reds, purples and caramel colors from anthocyanins in grapes, black carrots, cabbage and beets.