Bringing new products to market: Insights from a functional feed startup

Geralf Zimmermann, Business Development at Purapep, discusses bringing Purapep's new products to market.
calendar icon 15 February 2019
clock icon 9 minute read

Animal Health Investment Europe is a premier investment forum showcasing the most exciting investment opportunities in animal health and nutrition and connecting those businesses with financial investors and strategic corporate partners. Taking place 26 and 27 February, the forum promises to be an exciting insight into innovation in nutritional health, data analytics, sensors and diagnostics.

The Pig Site has procured a host of investors and emerging innovators taking part in the forum to talk trends, technology and turning startups into thriving businesses in the pig and poultry sectors.

This week, we spoke to Geralf Zimmermann, Business Development at Purapep and one of the finalists for the Innovation Showcase.

What sets your company apart from others in the market working to develop products aimed at providing a solution for the same challenge?

The product is based on a natural whey protein - nothing else added - and provides quickly absorbable amino acids, eg, tryptophan in special peptidic form. Therefore, these essential substances have higher bioavailability than single amino acids added to feed or those available in raw materials like soya or wheat.

With over 10 years of research and innovation, and a deep knowledge of technofunctional impacts of ingredients, the challenge we're focusing on is the reduction of stress-related behaviour.

How are your products an innovation on technology that already exists in the industry?

Purapep provides significantly better bioavailable amino acids for organisms like pigs and other animals. The feed supplement is rich in tryptophan di- and tri-peptides, of which more can pass through the small intestine than single amino acids.

How do your products make farmers’ lives easier?

Referring to literature and studies regarding tryptophan and pigs, one of the predicted effects of Purapep will be it's positive impact on pig behaviour. As previously mentioned, the focus is on reducing stress which can lead to higher productivity and controlled weight increase compared to pigs which have not been fed with protein hydrolysate.

What benefits can you predict for the application of Purapep in pig production?

Improvement of the behaviour of pigs after separation from the mother and improved weight gain compared to pigs and piglets that have not been fed with our protein hydrolysate.

Have you done any on-farm, commercial-scale trials of your products?

Actually, not yet. We´re set to complete a study with piglets within the first half year of this year (2019). A commerical scale-trial is yet to be completed.

Were there specific challenges you faced but have overcome during the development of your products?

We had to do a scale-up of production processes from the laboratory into industrial-scale systems. More trials were needed than was predicted, but now the systems are working well.

What type of investor are you aiming to attract?

There are several possibilities, so the focuses for us are:

  • venture capitalists;
  • partnerships with existing companies in the market.

Emily Houghton

Editor, The Pig Site

Emily Houghton is a Zoology graduate from Cardiff University and was the editor of The Pig Site from October 2017 to May 2020. Emily has worked in livestock husbandry, and has written, conducted and assisted with research projects regarding the synthesis of welfare and productivity of free-range food species.

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