Company specializes in yeast, a fungus that, if combined with other products, can strengthen the immunity of animals
Glycon Santos — Foto: Divulgação
Brazilian company ICC sees the reduction of antibiotics in the animal diet as a trend that will open more space for natural products, such as yeast – its core product. The company holds 60% of the Brazilian market for this additive used in animal feed. ICC hopes that this change will take revenues to R$1 billion in 2026, double the amount grossed last year.
The use of antibiotics in animal nutrition must be reduced to prevent pathogens from developing resistance to drugs, CEO Glycon Santos told Valor. But to replace growth promoters, it will be necessary to combine natural products, such as yeast, which is a fungus produced in the manufacture of sugarcane ethanol – like ICC’s product –, bread, and beer.
“The challenge is very big because of the densification of the animals. We need additives that do the same function as these antibiotics in other ways. Our company alone has already done 320 scientific studies, in search of a formula for a healthier intestine,” he said.
ICC invested R$15 million in a new yeast factory that started operating earlier this month in Jundiaí, São Paulo. The company has another unit in Macatuba, in the same state. “The interior of São Paulo is the best place to invest because it has the largest sugarcane production in the country and is relatively close to the port of Santos, which is where we export from,” he said.
The new plant, of 15,400 square meters considering the warehouse, can reach a production of 140 tonnes per day in three shifts. The unit is fully automated to meet the demand with quality and speed, and has its own laboratory for raw material and finished product analysis.
Mr. Santos acknowledged that the last two years were quite challenging for ICC. According to him, the value to export a tonne by the main routes increased to $14,000 per tonne from $2,000 before the Covid-19 pandemic. In addition, the strong rise in grain prices is negative for the sale of additives, since the product is not mandatory for feed formulation and the industry tends to reduce investments to cope with the high cost of production.
Brazil reached 100,000 tonnes produced last year, Mr. Santos said, but the potential, given the size of ethanol production, is much higher, at 900,000 tonnes. Today, the product is used mainly in cattle, swine, and poultry nutrition, but tends to grow more in swine and fish farming.
From the gestation of sows to the weaning of piglets, farmers need all the help possible to keep the animals alive and healthy. Fish farming, on the other hand, tends to grow exponentially because it is still a developing activity. “The effect of yeast to decrease mortality will be very important,” Mr. Santos said.
To reach the goal of R$1 billion in revenues, the company will also invest in the creation of a line of phytotherapeutic products with essential oils. The product is also useful to control diseases in animals.
Furthermore, the company will reinforce its exports, which today demand 60% of the yeasts produced by ICC. China has great potential as it holds 25% of the global feed market, but the idea is to grow in all geographies, Mr. Santos said. Currently, there are 70 buying countries.
*By José Florentino — São Paulo
Source: Valor International