11 February 2022 – Pathway Intermediates has put its best foot forward stepping into the New Year. The UK-born, South Korean-owned maker of absorption accelerator, Lipidol®, launched a brand-new business unit in the US in January and is now gearing up to expand its flagship range with a new addition to the family.
From its humble beginnings in 2001 to its 2018 acquisition by South Korea’s EASY BIO, Pathway Intermediates’ upward trajectory has been exciting to watch. And in 2022 the company is showing no signs of slowing down. The feed additive maker – which now has offices in the UK, Ireland, Spain, China, South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam and the US – earlier this year launched Pathway Nutrition, a new sales and technical service unit under its American subsidiary to bring its nutritional technologies to livestock producers across North America.
On top of that it is also expanding its Lipidol® range later this year with the introduction of Lipidol® Gold, a liquid version of its popular absorption accelerator containing functional lysophospholipids (LPLs), making it suitable for liquid application in feed plants.
To dig a little deeper into these exciting developments, we turned to Dr. Eric Kwon, the General Manager of Pathway Intermediates USA, LLC and Philip Vernon, Nutritionist and Area Manager, and European Product Manager for Lipidol®. In this Industry Perspectives they share the strategic thinking behind setting up Pathway Nutrition, how the new unit will impact the company’s North American presence, the sustainability thinking behind Lipidol® Gold’s creation and what else the company has in store for the rest of 2022.
[Feedinfo] Dr. Kwon, you will be overseeing the new Pathway Nutrition unit. What prompted its development? Where do you see it fulfilling a strategic need that was not met before?
Dr. Eric Kwon
[Eric Kwon] Traditionally Pathway Intermediates pursued a B2B business model in the US. This meant that every feed manufacturer, ingredients blender, and regional/local distributor in the US livestock industry was considered our customer. However, up until now Pathway Intermediates USA did not have an operations unit to provide a technical guideline to these customers, such as optimising inclusion rates in their feeding plans, providing a bespoke solution out of Pathway portfolio products based on the needs of customers, and providing scientific references.
With the launch of the new technical solutions team, Pathway Nutrition, we are now able to better service these needs and provide our customers in North America with the tailored support and advice they require that will benefit their operations.
[Feedinfo] Why a standalone unit? Why not develop these services under Pathway Intermediates USA?
[Eric Kwon] The B2B sales and technical services will be operated by Pathway Intermediates USA. Pathway Nutrition will essentially act as the sales arm for Pathway Intermediates products in North America. Their customers will benefit from the highly researched and proven technologies that Pathway Intermediates has developed, and will continue to develop, in coordinated efforts with our other Pathway affiliates around the globe.
[Feedinfo] What do you project the impact of Pathway Nutrition will be on your North American operations in the next few years? How do you see it contributing to your growth in the region?
[Eric Kwon] Before Pathway Nutrition, Pathway Intermediates had to rely on our global technical and sales teams to effectuate sales in the US and North American markets. This really hampered our coverage of the region and limited our access to customer insights on a variety of issues. Pathway Nutrition, which is staffed by qualified technical solution managers separated into teams dedicated to different livestock species, will better our ability to contact and communicate with customers and develop an even deeper understanding of local and regional issues concerning them. This, in turn, will help us provide them with a more customised service and enable the global company, Pathway Intermediates, to be successfully established in the US market and potentially increase organic sales with customers.
[Feedinfo] Now, that’s not all you have planned for the new year. Mr Vernon, 2022 will also see the launch of Lipidol® Gold, a liquid version of your popular absorption accelerator containing functional LPLs. When exactly can the market expect this new product to be available? How will you be rolling it out?
[Philip Vernon] Lipidol® Gold will be available in Europe during Q2 2022. We chose to start with Europe due to the common inclusion of oils as an energy source, typically soya oil. Our customers there would also often ask how we could help them in their fight for sustainability, so this also reassured us that Europe was the correct choice for an initial launch. Pathway also has a large distributor network across Europe and will be working closely with each partner to ensure marketing materials and training are provided. We will also ensure product stock will be shipped late in Q1 to our partners to avoid the shipping delays we are all experiencing at present.
[Feedinfo] What led to its development? And what are some of the lessons learnt from other iterations of the product that you were able to apply to this new one?
[Philip Vernon] Initially this was a customer driven project. We had received requests worldwide for a liquid/fluid version of Lipidol®, which led to the development of Lipidol® Gold. As the project advanced, it aligned with our plans on improving our own sustainability. As much as the original Lipidol®, and then Lipidol® Ultra took great steps towards reducing nitrogen and CO2 emissions in mills and on farms, we were still shipping 50% silica around the world. We could not truly stand for a sustainable future if we did not make the necessary changes internally too.
The result was an even more concentrated product using an oil carrier which can be dosed into any oil system and substituted into the ration. Lipidol® Gold is also seven times more fluid than conventional lecithin products, can be used with standard mill fluid pumps and is fluid at room temperature. We also have designed simple solutions for those customers in colder climates.
[Feedinfo] How do you expect Lipidol® Gold to perform compared to your more established powder and concentrate versions?
[Philip Vernon] We are expecting it to initially match our Lipidol® Ultra sales over the next few years. However, considering the COP26 objectives and the wider push to further boost sustainability efforts, we are expecting to see a segment of our Lipidol® Ultra customers switch to Gold in the near future. With a wide range of mills across Europe and the world, naturally there are those who prefer either liquid, premix or hand-add. With Lipidol® Gold we now can see to all requirements.
[Feedinfo] You first introduced LPLs in 2001. It’s now been 21 years. Is there more to explore here? And where are you seeing growth opportunities for the Lipidol® range?
[Philip Vernon] Pathway has put a lot of work into changing the horizon of Lipidol® for the better; helped by the appointment of Sarah Berry to CSO and the team at Pathway Research Centre. We have some amazing research going on in our laboratory exploring just what Lipidol® can do. For example, we have intestinal health and microbiome studies running to understand the positive effects of Lipidol® and expanding on the tight junction work we completed in 2016 in conjunction with the University of Georgia. There is a keen interest in the industry around the microbiome and how we can utilise it to improve animal performance and further reduce the reliance on antibiotics. So, for me as a nutritionist, it is very exciting to see how we can really support the animals we feed.
[Feedinfo] To conclude, what else does 2022 hold for Pathway Intermediates? What other developments can customers look forward to this year?
[Eric Kwon] In addition to setting up our new Pathway Nutrition unit, Pathway Intermediates USA will also be launching more products customised for the North American market, including an eco-friendly botanical product line. We believe the expansion of our solution portfolio will generate significant synergy with the newly launched unit, which could make 2022 a turning point in the history of Pathway Intermediates USA.
[Philip Vernon] We are also looking forward to engaging more with our distributors and customer base, and at VIV Europe and EuroTier this year we are hoping to showcase not only some new products, but the team that developed them. We are very proud of the work that is produced by the R&D team and it is just as important for the market to see how we do this as it will be for the team to receive direct feedback.
Outside of that our focus has been on furthering our sustainability efforts, for example in removing more inert carrier from our product range, adding in CO2 and nitrogen calculations to product lines that are reformulated and focussing on reducing key product use, such as soya.
We are also excited to showcase the work we are doing on gut health and the microbiome with a number of products. Pathway will be demonstrating how nutritionists can further support a healthy animal and how a supported microbiome can boost performance.
Published in association with Pathway Intermediates