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Food Cultures & Enzymes

According to the Company’s own estimates and based on volume, the global market for fermented milk grew around 3% in 2016/17. The market for cheese is estimated to have increased by around 2%.

Chr. Hansen estimates that, based on volume, up to 80% of the fermented milk market (excluding India) and around 50% of the cheese market had converted from bulk starter to Chr. Hansen’s industrialized DVS® cultures or similar technologies by the end of 2016/17.

Human health

The role of beneficial bacteria in humans is increasingly acknowledged across the world, and Chr. Hansen is a global leader in the development and production of probiotics for dietary supplements and infant formula.

Market conditions for human probiotic dietary supplements were favorable in 2016/17. Penetration of probiotic solutions in the dietary supplements market increased.

Animal health

With a growing world population, there is a long-term need to increase productivity in the agricultural industry while at the same time reducing and replacing the use of antibiotic growth promoters in the livestock industry. Chr. Hansen’s microbial concepts for animal feed and silage support farmers in addressing these challenges.

In 2016/17, the market for microbial solutions in the agricultural industry improved compared to the previous year, as extraordinary low levels of commodity prices for milk and pork caused farmers to cut down on certain feed additives such as microbial solutions and silage inoculants. 

Natural Colors

In recent years, consumer demand for more natural products has increased. Chr. Hansen is well positioned to capture these opportunities by providing improved cost-in-use solutions, addressing the significant potential in emerging markets and developing an enhanced product offering.

The increased consumer demand for natural and clean-label products, combined with stricter regulation of the use of synthetic solutions in food and beverages, especially in the EU, has led to a conversion from synthetic colors to natural solutions.

In 2016/17, the conversion to natural colors continued in all regions, with the US showing highest growth as many major US food & beverage manufacturers are in the process of converting to natural ingredients, including colors.


With customers in more than 140 countries and offices in more than 30 countries across the world, Chr. Hansen has organized its sales operations in four regions:

  • EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa)
  • North America
  • APAC (Asia-Pacific)
  • LATAM (Latin America)


The EMEA region accounted for 44% of revenue, compared to 46% in 2015/16. Chr. Hansen has offices in 17 countries.

During 2016/17, milk production and combined production of cheese and fermented milk showed modest growth overall in EMEA, however, with significant variations across countries. As an example, there was a significant increase in cheese production in Ireland and Poland, whereas fermented milk production in France declined.

The human probiotic supplement market grew strongly, mainly driven by EU countries. As animal farmer economics improved across the region during the year, the market for microbial-based animal health products normalized and grew compared to last year. All product categories in animal health contributed to growth.

Demand for natural ingredients including natural colors, remained solid during the year, and tightened regulation outside the EU continued to drive sales.

Revenue increased by 8%, with organic growth of 7%. Organic growth was driven by strong growth in human health and solid growth in cultures for cheese and meat, dairy enzymes, animal health and natural colors. Fermented milk including probiotics delivered good growth.


The North American region accounted for 28% of revenue, compared to 26% in 2015/16.

Fermented milk production levels in the US were in line with
2015/16, whereas growth in cheese production normalized at
around 2%.

The market for probiotic dietary supplements continued to be driven by further penetration, although at a slower pace than previous years. The market for microbial-based animal health products was positively impacted by normalizing commodity prices, causing farmers to increase their use of certain feed additives, such as probiotics and silage inoculants, over last year.

Driven by increased consumer demand to replace chemical additives with natural solutions, market growth for natural colors continued to develop favorably in 2016/17.

Revenue increased by 19%, with organic growth of 13%. Organic growth was driven by strong growth in cheese, meat, probiotics for fermented milk, animal health and natural colors. Fermented milk showed solid growth, while human health and enzymes delivered good growth.


The APAC region accounted for 15% of revenue, unchanged from 2015/16. Chr. Hansen has offices in six countries.

During 2016/17, dairy markets across the region developed positively, particularly the market for fermented milk in China, which continued the strong growth seen in recent years. Growth was driven by increasing dairy consumption per capita, increasing consumer demand for premium products and a high innovation rate in Chinese dairies. India continued to support regional growth as industrialization of the dairy sector increased. The Japanese and South Korean markets developed well, driven by probiotics for dairy products.

The market for probiotic supplements developed very positively as awareness of the category increased, whereas penetration of microbial-based animal health products remained limited.

Food legislation is maturing across the region, with increasing interest in natural food ingredients. The demand for natural colors varies across the region, with high penetration levels in countries such as Australia and Japan, while there are still significant opportunities for conversion from synthetic colors in China and Southeast Asia.

Revenue increased by 15%, with organic growth of 16%, mainly driven by China. Organic growth was due to strong growth in fermented milk including probiotics, enzymes and human health. Cheese and natural colors delivered solid growth, while revenue from animal health was below last year.


The LATAM region accounted for 13% of revenue, unchanged from 2015/16. Chr. Hansen has offices in six countries.

A difficult economic environment persisted in important countries such as Brazil and Venezuela, but the demand for natural ingredients continued to grow, albeit at a slower pace than in previous years.

Revenue increased by 9%, with organic growth of 10%. Organic growth was driven by strong growth in cheese, meat, human health, animal health and plant health. Natural colors showed solid growth, while fermented milk and enzymes delivered good growth. Revenue from probiotics for fermented milk was unchanged from 2015/16.

Organic growth 7% 13% 16% 10%
Share of revenue 44% 28% 15% 13%
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