AB Vista’s Dieter Suida: Resilience and reliability in service of Asia-Pacific’s feed market

Feed enzymes developer AB Vista relishes reconnecting with its customers at the onsite edition of VIV Asia 2023 in Bangkok, Thailand. 

As the show returns to its original format, Dieter Suida, global commercial director of the company, prioritises face-to-face meetings as one of AB Vista’s agendas. “With COVID, we have learned to use other resources to meet (with customers) through the use of digital media tools,” he remarks. “We have seen that these tools are here to stay but face-to-face meeting is still important. We are now balancing between (these two forms of communication).”

At this year’s show, AB Vista showcases the latest gut health and feed intelligence solutions and brings the spotlight to its Signis stimbiotic (for optimising gut function, integrity and nutrient digestibility)  and near-infrared spectroscopy (NIR) service (for rapidly predicting nutritional components of feed)    

Additionally, AB Vista research director Dr. Mike Bedford and technical director Dr. Usama Aftab deliver speeches on “Optimizing Utilization of Phytase in Poultry and Pigs” and “Optimizing Utilization of Dietary Fibre in Poultry and Pigs,” respectively.

eFeedLink learns more from Suida as he shares about AB Vista’s progress in the Asia-Pacific market.

Last year, AB Vista announced the launch of its Signis stimbiotic in Vietnam, the Philippines and Thailand. Please share with us an update on Signis’ progress in the Asia-Pacific and here, in Thailand.

Dieter Suida: We have launched Signis in Indonesia and Malaysia as well last year; basically, we have launched in all key Southeast Asian markets.

We had planned to launch Signis before (the pandemic). This is where COVID has restricted us, which is in the area of new development. This process needs to be conducted face-to-face. This is why we could only launch Signis last year when it could have happened earlier. 

We are now seeing that the sales of Signis are growing significantly. However, as it is a technical product, we have to convince the customers about how Signis functions and its benefits.

In all cases, once customers tested the product and found that it works, they acquired it. Our business has since grown significantly with the launch of Signis.

Please also tell us about the other products and services that will be introduced to expand AB Vista’s footprint in the Asia-Pacific. What about the Progres natural additive that the company recently acquired from Finnish bioscience company Hankkija?

Dieter Suida:  AB Vista is focused on enzymes. But, a few years ago, with strategic planning, we decided that we will need more (than just enzymes). We went to our customers to understand what they are in need of. Based on their needs, we began to develop a platform that supports the microbiome of the animal in terms of impacts on nutrition, performance and other relevant aspects.

Now we are focused on Progres, a natural resin acids product that is created in Finland. We have acquired the patent of Progres which is complementary to the support of the microbiome. It’s a very good product that can produce anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory effects. With Progres, gut integrity can be kept in a better condition.

Besides Progres and Signis, we have launched a new application technology, ECOS, for ingredient and bio-digestor processing. We are quite successful with this product, and we are right now testing it with some customers. The results, so far, are consistent.  

In terms of service, we are further developing our NIR service. We have developed a portable, handheld NIR system that is loaded with calibrations based on Asia-Pacific (conditions). It is easy to be used in the quality control of ingredients and feed. It is also a more affordable technology.

We have more recently started to do some evaluations looking at gut health, working with customers to help monitor changes within the microbiome. We will look to bring this into our wider service offering; it will be another tool to help in the decision making of how to improve the gut function and build animals’ resilience to challenges — in addition to better utilise feed additives and understand other environmental factors.   

Looking at Europe and the Asia-Pacific, what are both regions’ challenges that are unique and distinct from each other? How do commercial opportunities differ between both regions?

Dieter Suida: Everybody is talking about rising costs and supply chain disruptions, but the challenges (between both the Asia-Pacific and Europe) are different from each other.

In Europe, energy costs there are higher (than in the Asia-Pacific). The main reasons for this are the war in Ukraine and the resulting restrictions on gas supply. The other issue is the supply chain. This challenge is bigger in Europe than it is in the Asia-Pacific.

One big difference I also see between both regions concerns what happened last year. Europe’s feed production decreased in 2022 when compared to 2021, while in APAC, we had some growth. And this is related to high production costs, lower consumption and disease outbreaks in key markets and environmental restrictions in others.

Both Europe and the Asia-Pacific have regulatory challenges. Europe tends to have a longer process (to approve) any new technologies. However, APAC is also becoming (stricter in approving) products that can really work.

Europe is a more mature market for many technologies applied for animal performance, gut health alternatives and, as a consequence, is more stable and has higher competition. In APAC, we see the market on a higher growing trend not just due to the organic feed production but also due to the companies increasing the implementation of those technologies.

APAC is still a growing market (for AB Vista). 

How has AB Vista supported Thailand’s feed and livestock production industries to overcome their challenges over the past years, specifically, during the pandemic?

Dieter Suida: (One key challenge) is the prices of commodities. We have seen the prices of feed go up (in recent times). This is the reality we are still facing (as the pandemic dies down).

AB Vista has supported the Thai industry in different ways. One of the ways is developing applications and feed additives that can help reduce production costs, which is one of the main challenges during the pandemic.

By promoting a higher level of phytase use that can support a stronger nutritional matrix, we can significantly lower the cost of feed formulation. AB Vista has much data to back this up.

As a matter of fact, when looking at the past two years, phytase dosage on average has increased by nearly double in APAC.

(Through the use of digital technologies), we have also been able to continue supporting the customer during the pandemic, bringing them technical information. Additionally, we deliver market information from other regions (through the global network of AB Vista) to our customers, so we can support them in (decision-making for) their business. 

I believe our services have done much to support our customers. With our NIR services, for example, one can make more precise feed formulations. Nutritionists can be more prudent with formulations, thus saving costs. NIR can be used in quality control of feed ingredients, and this can better inform the buying of ingredients due to a better understanding of what producers are getting.

One of AB Vista’s key strengths is its engineering component, which supports our customers in liquid (enzyme and betaine) applications. In this area, we have done investments with our customers, and our engineering service helps them to get the right equipment.

AB Vista had been able to maintain operations at our supply chain (despite rising costs).  We continue to produce all our enzymes through our sister company even with the challenges of getting raw materials. We have to make operation adjustments to make sure we are able (to overcome the challenges). As such, we can deliver the quality of our products without disruptions.

We have (managed to meet the demands) of every customer in every market.

– Terry Tan