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Agropur Ingredients’ services keep customers in compliance, on trend

Editor’s note: Welcome to Ingredient Innovation, CMN’s new segment exploring recent innovations and trends in the dairy ingredients sector. For this segment, we will profile a leader in the ingredients industry as well as share updates on mergers and acquisitions and new offerings for cheese and dairy in ingredients — where flavor begins.

Photo courtesy of Agropur

QUALITY AND SAFETY — “Food safety is our top priority. We continue to invest in infrastructure and people to ensure we’re always on top of the evolving food safety environment,” says Carla Fabian, director of sales, Agropur. The company’s La Crosse, Wisconsin, facility, pictured above, is certified by the Warehousing Education and Research Council, the only professional association focused exclusively on warehouse management and its role in the supply chain.
Photo courtesy of Agropur
EMPLOYEE EXCELLENCE — “The talents of our employees are our most important ingredient,” says Carla Fabian, director of sales, Agropur. “We’re looking for committed people who are ready to work hard for the cause of better dairy and a better world.”

By Alyssa Mitchell

LA CROSSE, Wis. — Agropur Ingredients, a global supplier of innovative, functional ingredients, assists cheese, bakery, frozen desserts and beverage manufacturers in staying on trend and maintaining regulatory compliance through its Custom Solutions side of the business.

Based in La Crosse, Wisconsin, Agropur Ingredients’ state-of-the-art technologies hold down costs while assuring product integrity, quality and optimized profitability. Part of Agropur Dairy Cooperative, the ingredients business is global in its vertical integration and equipped to assist in all facets of product sourcing, formulation, manufacturing, testing, packaging and distribution.

Through the Agropur’s Custom Solutions, the company offers expertise, ingredients and services tailor-made to address unique production and nutritional needs.

“As the ‘Custom Solutions’ name implies, we specialize in doing things specific to the needs of the customer. We don’t shy away from tough processing or formulating challenges,” says Carla Fabian, director of sales, Agropur. “We’re here to support, troubleshoot and offer solutions. In some cases, we assist with product development and formulations from scratch. In other cases, it’s based on market conditions and trends.”

Fabian notes that as of Jan. 1, new USDA regulations mandate that foods previously labeled as containing “genetically engineered” (GE) ingredients or “genetically modified organisms” (GMOs) now must be labeled as “bioengineered (BE),” or come with a phone number or QR code guiding consumers to more information online.
“We’ve been preparing over the past year, and we are poised to assist customers in these areas,” she says.

Fabian notes in California, under Proposition 12, new regulations also have gone into effect specific to the use of cage-free eggs, impacting the bakery sector.

“We have been working on dairy-based egg replacers for both whole eggs and egg whites for some time, as well as offering BE-friendly options for cheese shredding,” Fabian says.

Agropur’s Bakigen bakery ingredients deliver unbeatable performance and structure while minimizing high costs associated with ingredients such as dairy, soy and eggs, she says.

Fabian notes bakeries are looking for economical egg alternatives based on changes in the poultry industry. Agropur’s Bakigen 1751 and Bakigen 1781 are easier to handle than liquid whole eggs, and they eliminate egg allergens and replicate their functional characteristics, she says.

Meanwhile, Agropur’s Capstone anti-caking agents are specially formulated for affordability, efficiency and longer shelf life in shredded cheese. The company’s Capstone 4057 also addresses BE labeling needs and offers consistent flow, low dusting and the superior mold inhibition Agropur’s customers have come to expect in an anti-caking agent, Fabian says.

“Our anti-caking agents provide a barrier to safeguard the integrity of cheese, inhibit mold and prevent clumping while maintaining overall cheese taste, aesthetics and consumer appeal,” she says. “We customize our formulations to meet your exact cheese application needs.”

Capstone anti-caking agents are highly functional ingredients that help play a vital role in mitigating the high cost and price variability of key ingredients, Fabian says. State-of-the-art ingredients technologies assure product integrity and quality.

Capstone also has applications for cubed and high-moisture crumbled cheeses.

For processed cheese, frozen foods and plant-based alternatives, Agropur’s Keystone stabilizer systems are formulated to increase product quality and profitability.

“Agropur’s knowledge of protein technology, stabilizer systems and their interactions gives you superior products. Whether you want to increase shelf life in bakery products or create a more premium texture and melting characteristics in ice cream, Keystone stabilizers can be the essential ingredient in your product’s success. Each combination of stabilizers provides unique properties in your finished product,” Fabian says.

Meanwhile, the company’s Cornerstone protein products offer a line of functional and alternative proteins specially formulated for use in a wide range of food applications. Uniquely developed to incorporate both dairy and non-dairy ingredient components, the Cornerstone line can be custom-built to best suit brand identity, product performance and target consumer needs.

“Beyond customization, the protein power of Cornerstone is evident in our ingredient blends’ functionality,” Fabian says. “Formulating with our team of in-house food and sports nutrition scientists, we can help you produce products with solid nutrition, dependable solubility, outstanding gelling properties and favorable water-binding properties.”

These are just a few of many innovative products Agropur has developed to assist its customers through an ever-changing marketplace, Fabian notes.

“We’re versatile in our product mix, offering proprietary and branded ingredient blends into the bakery, frozen dessert, beverage and cheese industries,” she adds. “We’ve even had instances in which customers approached us for help outside the scope of the ingredients we’re selling to them. They know we have a great team of food technologists throughout Agropur, and we’re glad to assist in any way we can. If need be, we also can refer customers to others who are even more qualified to support their needs.”

Fabian notes many of Agropur’s technologists have been in the industry for a number of years and are subject matter experts.

“In addition to our food and beverage innovation expertise, we offer custom drying and toll agglomerating for a variety of ingredients utilized in the industry,” she says.

The company also offers contract manufacturing capabilities. Customers may supply a portion of their product formula and work with Agropur Ingredients to fulfill the rest through the company’s ingredient distribution network.

“This option allows you to maintain the aspects of your formulas regarded as unique or proprietary, yet still work with a contract manufacturing partner to minimize costs and streamline your manufacturing process,” Fabian says.

“Our food technologists have the ability to pinpoint the exact flavor, function, appearance, cost and shelf stability of products,” she adds. “Your private label concept will fully develop utilizing our progressive in-house testing facilities and skilled staff of food technologists. We work closely with our customers to ensure that the products we formulate become the highest-quality health and nutrition products on the market. From concept to prototype, our team of experts is here to serve as your technical support system.”

Fabian notes Agropur’s business is only as good as its quality and safety.

“It’s at the heart of everything we do,” she says. “Food safety is our top priority from the onset of product ideation until we’re discarding all quality-related documents seven years after we’ve manufactured. Our quality staff networks with experts in the industry and remains current on ever-changing regulations both domestically and globally. We use third-party auditors to ensure we’re following the best safety practices. We also learn from our customers who are collectively auditing our facilities many times each year. We’re proud of our food safety programs. We continue to invest in infrastructure and people to ensure we’re always on top of the evolving food safety environment.”

Agropur Ingredients’ La Crosse facility is certified by the Warehousing Education and Research Council (WERC), the only professional association focused exclusively on warehouse management and its role in the supply chain. To earn this distinction, the WERC program provides an industry-standard grading methodology that includes facility inspection and process assessment by an independent third party. The program is voluntary and certifies an individual warehouse facility’s capabilities and its ability to perform core warehousing functions.

Meanwhile, Agropur’s employees never take their eyes off quality, Fabian says “The talents of our employees are our most important ingredient. We’re looking for committed people who are ready to work hard for the cause of better dairy and a better world. In return, we offer a stimulating work environment where they can develop and apply their talents,” she says.

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