Animal nutrition is more scientific than you think.
“Fortunately or unfortunately, human appetite is driven by taste and convenience. I was in the industry before, and I know that scientifically formulated food doesn’t have the same appeal to humans,” said Sumit Dhawan, Vice President of Corporate Development and the Chief Commercial Officer at Novus International.
“But for the animal nutrition industry to be profitable, it’s imperative to have a scientifically-formulated diet. This results in good health for the animals, good feed conversion, high quality output, and sustainability.”
These components are important to Novus International’s strategy for delivering animal nutrition solutions that optimize efficiency and help its customers manage food production challenges in a sustainable way.
Novus’s scientific roots and history originate in the 1950s when the St. Louis, Missouri-based Monsanto Company began conducting livestock and poultry feed metabolism studies. In 1959, one of its products received FDA approval as an animal feed additive, which helped launch the Monsanto animal nutrition division that would eventually become Novus.
Since 1991, Novus has brought numerous products to the market, including more than 100 over the past decade. In addition, Novus developed product families including Methionine solutions, Organic Trace Mineral solutions, Enzyme solutions, and Eubiotics and Feed Quality solutions.
“We’re big believers in providing adequate nutrition,” Dhawan said. “The way we do this is through intimate partnerships with our customers. There’s a lot of clutter in the marketplace—both small and large companies. But our relationships with our customers mean a high percent of repeat clientele. We truly value these partnerships and what they bring to our business.”
These high-level partnerships have led—on more than one occasion—to proprietary technology and products like MINTREX®. MINTREX chelated trace minerals combine the company’s methionine feed supplement with an essential trace mineral in a two-to-one chelated molecule.
If that’s a bit over your head—like it was ours—Dhawan had a simplified explanation.
“The way the mineral is delivered makes it more bioavailable to animals,” he said. “Traditionally, inorganic trace minerals can provide some of the basic nutritional benefits required, but you have to use seven or eight times as much as you’d have to use with MINTREX.
“The animal absorbs more of the mineral with our product, enabling the customer to meet nutrition needs in a lower quantity, enjoy performance benefits beyond those of competitive products, and address sustainability in a proactive way.”
Sustainability is a key pillar of the animal nutrition business, and one of the main things that attracted Dhawan to the company five years ago.
“Sustainability can mean a million things to a million different people,” said Jake Piel, previous Sustainability Manager and current Manager of Global Marketing Operations for Novus International.
“We conducted an assessment to find out what areas of sustainability were critical to stakeholders—employees, customers, owners, customers’ partners, and consumer-based groups. This provides the guiding light for the direction of our sustainability efforts.”
Novus International owns seven manufacturing facilities around the world for finished animal nutrition goods. Shipping all over the world means thousands of miles of routes and a complex logistics plan.
To save money and, more importantly, reduce the company’s impact on the environment, Piel and the logistics team considered its shipping routes in the South Asian market, and were able to streamline their distribution network. This also reduced the company’s greenhouse gas emissions by over 40 percent for product shipped to market, and saved the company a considerable amount of money.
“We balance meeting the sustainability demand of our customers with looking at what is in our control to change,” Piel said.
By having one of its ALIMET® feed supplement production plants—the world’s largest methionine plant, and Novus International’s core product—in the U.S., the company is able to provide a quality its customers know to be high.
“There are many advantages to working from the U.S.,” Dhawan said. “There’s a perception immediately that a product made in the U.S. will be good quality.”
A robust economy, savvy customers all over the world, and Novus’s drive to stay ahead of the competition also contribute to the animal nutrition company’s success. He also cited the caliber of the company’s workforce as a driving asset.
“We want people who are motivated by our vision and a sense of purpose. People who are willing to take the initiative and identify the opportunity for growth within Novus.”
While its employees focus on growth within Novus, the company takes a balanced approach in terms of providing strong career opportunities. It focuses on the overall wellbeing of the employee at work, and the person who leaves work each day.
Dhawan knows that by having high-quality nutritional feed supplements, Novus International can remove many of the variables the industry contends with. This is important around the world, even in the U.S. where the best-quality raw materials are available. And the U.S. has the best quality raw materials to begin with.
“It’s one of the most important things that determines the output for animals. High nutrition stays in the feed and isn’t lost before it gets to the animal. Quality feed means a quality animal and a more profitable and successful customer.
“Experts are estimating another 2.2 billion more people on Earth in the coming decade. Who will feed these people? Our customers, and we’re proud to join them in this endeavor.”
Novus International, headquartered in St. Charles, Missouri, creates animal nutrition solutions for livestock, poultry, and aquaculture. Novus operations include corporate offices, research and development laboratories, and manufacturing facilities in more than 35 countries, as well as smaller offices with field staff in an additional 60 countries.