Stable products, easy to handle and ready to use

Henk Jan van Lent

Processing of and innovating with food ingredients are important items in the food ingredients industry. Henk Jan van Lent, Product and Innovation Manager at Niacet, highlights these in this IFFI interview.

For over ten years I have been working on this side from Niacet, a Kerry company, and global producer of propionates and acetates for the food industry. We are a small company with 125 employees in the Netherlands and about the same number in the United States. Our company produces organic salts for the animal feed, pharmaceutical and food ingredients industry. The products are chemically identical for all three branches but they differ in quality and analysis. For animal feed and human food we produce preservatives to slow down bacterial and fungal growth. For example in processed meat or meat alternatives. This is to preserve food and extend shelf life. Additionally we produce products that are used as flavor agents in the industry, like flavorings for chips and marinades. Also, our products are used as ‘buffer salt’ to preserve a specific pH-value. 

What our processing looks like? We perform an acid based reaction and dry the obtained salt solution. Two of the many techniques we use are drying and crystallization. The obtained dry products are further processed to improve particle size and structure. We also look into other drying techniques to optimize particle size distributions, such as less coarse and rounder spheres. Innovation is used to develop new, more stable product forms and new drying techniques to optimize particle size.

Of course, being the largest producer of organic salts globally, we have competition. But we use the scale of our production here and in the United States to be leading on costs and product quality. We have different production sites, so in case of any delivery issues, it is easy to switch to a different site.

But to be leading on costs is not sufficient, to lead on innovation is key and difficult. Whether it provides various advantages to the industry such as stable products which are easier to handle. But also advantage for operators as our products release less dust and therefor are more pleasant and safer to work with. 


Niacet is a member of IFFI, a business network in the food ingredients industry. Together with its members, IFFI looks to opportunities for business and creates value in the chain. Henk Jan van Lent regarding IFFI: ‘It’s pleasant to be involved in a consortium like IFFI. We keep an overview of developments in the industry and we follow market developments through IFFI. Besides that, IFFI is a great place to brainstorm with like-minded individuals.’  



This column was originally published in  EMVI



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