Launched at the bakery industry show IBIE 2004 this week in Las Vegas by the €2.23 billion Danish ingredients giant, Grindamyl PowerSoft will be initially rolled out in the US, the first country to approve it, before hitting Europe.
"The US is our number one target for the enzyme, a significant market - dominated by three industrial bakers - that is expanding faster than in the EU," Jan Sindesen, president of Danisco Specialities at Danisco told FoodNavigator.com.
A costly and lengthy process, the enzyme is the first actual product to come out of the Danisco development agreement with US firm Genencor.
"We want to see a commercial success in the US. This is an important enzyme market due to the way in which they manufacture bakery products. Longer distribution systems mean demands are high for processing and shelf-life aids," said Sindesen.
Danisco claims that the enzyme breaks new ground, "allowing us to target a new market that has not previously used enzymes to the extent possible", in particular in the high volume product areas - doughnuts, muffins and cakes.
"The solution has long been demanded by our customers, as it is able to fulfil a great need within the baking industry," he added.
Enzymes are proteins used in bread, juice, beer and wine. They are used as processing aids and facilitate the kneading of dough, filtration of beer, juice and wine and prolong the shelf life of bread and cakes.
Danisco will now work with key accounts to introduce the enzyme into its cake formulations. "We are pretty sure we can move to them fast," commented Sindesen on the major clients, adding that he thought the product would be competitively priced.
This latest development from Danisco will serve to step up enzyme sales to a baking industry knocked by the growth in the low carbohydrate diet that eschews carbs, found in bread and cakes, in favour of proteins. An estimated 30 million Americans are currently following the low-carb formula.
Fresh data from market analysts Mintel estimates that cake sales for 2003 exceeded $4.4 billion, a 33 per cent increase at current prices since 1998. With 18 per cent growth at constant prices over the review period (1998-2003), the cakes market is staying slightly ahead of inflation with adjusted growth of 3 per cent per year.
But since 2000, sales have slowly declined, with growth resulting at less than 4 per cent in 2003. "At this rate, the market exhibits little true growth, with gains of 1.7 per cent when considering the effects of inflation," write the analysts.
"In addition, the growing interest and wide publicity of current diet trends, like low carbohydrate and high protein plans, are surely taking a toll on the market as consumers may opt for products that fit into their diet regimes over low fat or reduced fat cakes that previously held the interest of health-seeking consumers," they add.
Reporting its first half figures for the year, Danish enzymes giant Novozymes, for example, said in early August that sales to the baking industry "continue to be negatively affected by lower bread consumption in the USA".
A recent survey from the US Bread Council suggests that as many as 40 per cent of consumers say they plan to eat less bread this year. And Interstate Bakeries, one of the country's leading bakers, reported a sales decline of less than 2 per cent last year.
With US approval for Grindamyl PowerSoft under its belt, Sindesen said that the green light in Europe for the product, "will come hopefully come next year".