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DSM announces Joint Venture with SOBISCO to produce fortified foods and beverages for Eastern India

Gurgaon, IN, 05 Jun 2015 15:30 CEST

Royal DSM, the global Life Sciences and Materials Sciences company, today announced a partnership with Sona Biscuits Ltd. (SOBISCO) in India to help provide effective nutrition to consumers in the Eastern states of Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Orissa. This initiative is part of DSM’s commitment to combating micronutrient deficiencies in India, supporting efforts by the government, industry players such as SOBISCO and the social sector in fortifying common staples and popular local foods. The joint venture partners today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in the presence of Prime Minister of The Netherlands Mark Rutte and his team who are visiting India as part of a trade mission this week.

Due to the sheer size of its growing population and associated development challenges, India faces a unique problem in tackling malnutrition. While the Food Security Act is helping to make food more widely available and has improved the hunger index in the country, there is only limited focus on nutritional aspects which can impact the well-being of children, adolescents and young mothers in particular, as well as households in general.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said: “I am confident that Dutch companies like DSM and their science-based solutions can help tackle malnutrition in India using their knowledge and expertise in collaboration with local partners.”

Geraldine Matchett, CFO and Member of the Managing Board of DSM, also in attendance at the signing ceremony, said: “As the world’s leading producer of nutritional ingredients including vitamins, DSM is taking responsibility to help address hidden hunger, one of the world’s greatest solvable problems. Access to the right nutrition is particularly important here in India, especially for children and young people. Fortification of staple and popular foods is considered to be one of the best approaches for combating micronutrient deficiencies. Through this initiative, DSM and SOBISCO are reaching out together to improve nutrition in communities across Eastern India.”

DSM India and SOBISCO Partnership

DSM in India already supports efforts by the government, industry and the social sector in fortifying common staple foods. It intends to reinforce this engagement via further initiatives in fortifying other widely available foods. In this regard, DSM India has joined forces with SOBISCO to fortify biscuits, popular local snacks and beverages like Sattu and Jhalmuri in Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Orissa.

The product categories have been selected keeping in mind the consumption patterns and preferences of the regional consumer. DSM believes that to be effective, fortified foods and beverages must appeal to the needs and tastes of consumers and provide nutritional value at a price that everyone (including lower income groups) can afford. Fortification of these products is based on regional nutritional gaps and deficiencies in rural children, young mothers and households in general.

The food and beverage products will be co-branded together by DSM & SOBISCO. For the venture, DSM will use its brand “NU-Shakti Nutrition for you” which has been locally developed and easily recognizable for the Indian market. The products will be centrally processed at SOBISCO’s facilities and will be formulated to provide essential micronutrients such as Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Folic Acid, Iron, Zinc, Iodine etc. The joint venture will operate under the name of DSM SOBISCO Foods Pvt Ltd. and will leverage the complementary strengths of both organizations.

Globally, through its Nutrition Improvement Program, DSM already contributes technical expertise to support public-private partnerships with the UN World Food Programme, World Vision International, Partners in Food Solutions, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), Vitamin Angels and the Amsterdam Initiative against Malnutrition. DSM’s own humanitarian think-tank Sight and Life provides nutrition science and evidence-based advocacy.

SOBISCO – 'The taste of good health'

Sona Biscuits Ltd (Sobisco) was established in 1992 and is Headquartered in Kolkata, West Bengal, India. Sobisco today is an ISO 22000 company and also a member of AIB (American Institute of Baking). With an annual production of 45,000 tonnes Sobisco has registered exponential growth in the highly competitive FMCG sector. With its 1200 employees and a highly experienced management cadre the company has a fleet of over 125 distributors and 1000 sub distributors covering  nearly 2,00,000 shops all over Eastern India. The product line is vastly diversified with 54 different varieties mainly categorized into 4 major segments- Sweet Biscuits, Semi Sweet Biscuits, Savory  Biscuits and Cream Biscuits with Sweet and Cream biscuits. Sobisco plans to scale greater heights and grow exponentially through selective expansion and add on growth through diversification in other sectors.

DSM in India

DSM in India is headquartered at Gurgaon, Haryana and currently employs 900 + employees across nine locations (including JVs). The company operates in the areas of Nutrition (DSM Nutritional Products & DSM Food Specialties); Performance Materials (DSM Engineering Plastics, DSM Dyneema, DSM Resins & Functional Materials); Pharmaceuticals (DSM Sinochem Pharmaceuticals JV); and a Global Delivery Center based in Hyderabad, to manage back office finance and accounting activities globally. DSM’s strategy in India is to identify and build new business opportunities  in the Life Sciences & Materials Sciences cluster. Its products find application in many areas that address India’s needs, in the areas of healthcare/nutrition, renewable energy and infrastructure.