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Business performance

Sustainable Food Solutions

Through our Sustainable Food Solutions business, Corbion provides value-adding natural ingredient solutions to leading food manufacturers around the world. We partner with customers to create delicious foods of consistent quality that meet the demands of today’s consumers, while also delivering the performance they need to achieve sustainable business success. Doing so in 2023 meant navigating a uniquely complex combination of economic pressures, market dynamics, geopolitical tensions, climate change, and changing consumer behaviors. While disruptions in the supply chain eased, customer destocking — the lowering of material inventories back to “normal,” pre-pandemic levels — continued to varying degrees across the global food industry, impacting sales and complicating the challenge of demand forecasting. Inflation-weary consumers became more budget conscious, contributing to a shift away from premium products toward lower-cost options and optimizing expenditures on food and beverages in general. Although sales in the quick service restaurant sector increased, they have yet to return to pre-pandemic levels. Manufacturers, feeling the weight of rising costs, looked for economic gains in formulation alternatives and new operating efficiencies. 

In the bakery segment, such challenges were compounded by a continuing shortage of skilled labor. Corbion helped food service customers deliver quality and consistency in spite of this shortage with solutions from our Pristine® range that promote optimal dough tolerance and volume, in addition to tortilla and flatbread ingredients provided in batch packs for better quality control without the need to scale in the plants. We expanded our offerings for natural mold inhibition and launched the industry’s first-ever predictive modeling tool for improving speed to market for food safety to include a dynamic temperature feature that more accurately mimics the effects of real-world conditions in production, storage, retail, and home settings. The new in-house vinegar production plant we brought online in Montgomery, Alabama (US), enabled Corbion to increase responsiveness and security of supply for our customers. In addition, we continued to focus on leveraging the preservative properties of our Origin™ line of natural antioxidants, which includes wild rosemary and acerola cherry extract.

We extended our natural mold inhibition product line to applications beyond the meat and bakery industries, leveraging natural ferments (such as cultured sugar) and vinegars both as stand-alone products and in combination. For instance, in the Asia–Pacific region, we successfully applied these solutions to help customers achieve microbial stability in savory sauces. Within the dairy segment, we used our products and stabilization expertise to help customers in a wider array of applications, including creamers, sour cream, ice cream, and dairy alternative drinks. In the confectionery space, we augmented our capacity for supplying acid powders, in addition to increasing the breadth of blended, buffered acid solutions in liquid form, to help makers of hard and soft candies achieve optimal flavor and product stability.

Lactic Acid & Specialties

In 2023, we saw continuous volatility in raw material prices, while the market started to slow down due to overall reduction in consumer demand.


In the home and personal care market, we continue to see strong developments in hygiene and cleaning products. The COVID-19 pandemic has influenced the market, resulting in brand owners reformulating in favor of safe, natural preservative products over traditional preservatives that have come under regulatory pressure from a safety perspective. These trends were accelerated by the proven efficacy lactic acid has against several coronaviruses and other microorganisms. We have seen that our PURAC® Sanilac solution helps brand owners meet the market’s urgent need for effective and safe sanitizing and preservation solutions.

The electronics industry showed a significant decline as the end market for chips and memory used in durable goods like personal computers and mobile devices declined due to reduced consumer spending. On top of reduced spending, the entire supply chain was faced with significant stock level challenges.

Pharmaceutical segments normalized as the number of patients recovering from the COVID-19 coronavirus decreased, and stock levels of finished goods were relatively high due to the disruption of the supply chain during the pandemic. Going forward, this market segment is expected to show growth as the number of patients, with kidney and other chronic diseases is growing. Our PURASAL® pharma product lines are produced according to the strictest current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) guidelines and comply with the highest quality standards. Corbion enables our customers to meet increasingly rigorous standards by delivering proven, consistent product quality.

After a strong 2022, the agrochemicals market saw a decline in 2023 due to high inventories across the supply chain and unfavorable weather conditions. Our PURASOLV® product line is included in various new crop protection formulations and is expected to support ongoing business growth in the coming years. In line with our strategy, we continue to focus on helping customers create environmentally friendly crop protection products including biopesticides, using our PURASOLV® green solvents, which are well aligned with industry trends.

Corbion finished the year by announcing the on-schedule mechanical completion of a first-of-its-kind circular lactic acid manufacturing plant at our site in Rayong, Thailand. This new facility will have the lowest associated carbon footprint compared to other manufacturing technologies, eliminates gypsum as a by-product, optimizes production costs, and fortifies Corbion's position as the global lactic acid market leader.


The orthopedic segment in the healthcare market maintained its strong performance, a trend that has persisted since the conclusion of the COVID-19 pandemic. Besides the recovery of the running business, development projects for customers have progressed, resulting in increasing sales. New developments resulted in many inquiries for our resorbable polymers and our FiberLive® material throughout the year.

In the area of controlled drug delivery, we continue to see strong demand and further interest in our products, leading to a growing pipeline of projects. We continue to collaborate closely with our pharmaceutical customers to enhance the quality of life of patients globally and increase the number of patient-friendly and cost-effective treatment solutions available to them. Several customers have showcased advancements in their innovation and are moving forward with registration and commercialization in their respective geographical markets.

CM Biomaterials, our joint venture with the French company MedinCell, focuses on new cost-effective, long-acting injectables for therapeutics to improve health worldwide. In April 2023, a significant achievement was reached as the FDA approved the first commercial product from our partner, Teva, based on this new drug delivery system. Subsequently, the product was launched in the US market throughout 2023.

In addition, a range of applications based on major active pharmaceutical ingredients and our PURASORB® polymers are currently advancing through different phases of (clinical) testing, covering both the use of existing controlled-release technologies (e.g., long-acting injectables) and enabling innovative dosage forms, in different clinical indications and delivery routes, contributing to 2023 sales and projected to grow during the Advance 2025 strategy period.

TotalEnergies Corbion joint venture

In June 2023, it was announced that the TotalEnergies Corbion joint venture would not proceed with the establishment of a new PLA bioplastics plant in Grandpuits, France. This decision came after Corbion conducted a thorough assessment of the investment case, considering the slowdown in the PLA market.

The TotalEnergies Corbion joint venture saw lower-than-expected volumes in 2023, as the PLA market has faced challenges driven by uncertainty in regulatory direction of single-use plastics and due to elevated stock levels in the supply chain. This impacted sales and dampened the volume growth seen in previous years. From a business development perspective, the joint venture is continuing to expand its horizons, progress into new markets and applications, and build a stronger pipeline for future growth.

Algae Ingredients

In 2023, we experienced more than significant growth in the algae-based omega-3 business in aquaculture and continued the expansion into new categories including pet food, human dietary supplements, and other omega-3 applications. The mission to unleash the power of algae fermentation to provide nutritional ingredients while preserving the world’s limited resources continues to be Algae Ingredients’ lighthouse.

Aquaculture plays a prominent role in addressing food security while contributing to ocean protection and economic prosperity. Growing aquaculture and meeting the goals in the Ocean Action Agenda, a project to fast-track solutions to the most pressing challenges facing the oceans, will depend on the ability to reduce its impact on the ecosystem, and a key element will be the sustainability of feed.

Corbion partnered with Nofima, a leading food research institute in Norway, and other forward-thinking organizations across the value chain to form the Millennial Salmon project. The goal of this four-year project is to create the most sustainably farmed salmon using circular economy novel ingredients and with a low carbon footprint while addressing the initiative’s “millennial principles of life”: living healthy, leading a purposeful life, trusting peers, and considering societal and environmental impacts.

Building from our AlgaPrime™ DHA LCA study, peer reviewed and published in 2021, we keep investing to evolve our portfolio, focusing on comparing AlgaPrime solutions to traditional sources of fish oil on an omega-3 basis to keep the carbon footprint lower. Measuring what matters and the low carbon footprint of AlgaPrime DHA are critical for customers working to meet carbon reduction goals for their operations and customers.

In June 2022, we reached EBITDA breakeven by leveraging Corbion’s unique expertise in large-scale industrial fermentation to supply algae with sustainable omega-3 at scale. Continuous investments in our production plant in Brazil increase our capacity and facilitate further growth in this business.


The Incubator portfolio comprises the following initiatives: Algae Portfolio Extension, Biopolymers, Natural Preservation, Circular Raw Materials, and Net Zero. Algae Portfolio Extension aims to further explore the algae platform for other products like lipids and proteins. Biopolymers builds on co-polymer activities and (medical) polymer expertise to improve the performance and extend the application range of polylactic acid. Natural Preservation aims to discover and develop novel antimicrobials with emphasis on natural mold inhibition. Circular Raw Materials explores feedstock flexibility options including non-food feedstocks. Net Zero investigates new technologies with emphasis on electrification and sustainable agriculture to meet our long-term sustainability targets.