APC Europe, a unique business model with a clear commitment to sustainability and innovation

Read this article in PYME al Día – (Spanish only)


APC Europe is the largest global manufacturer of spray dried plasma, hydrolysed proteins and other quality proteins. With 120 employees, APC Europe’s factory in Granollers is the most advanced plant of the group worldwide, playing a key role in the value chain of the food sector, as it collects animal blood and produces proteins with high added value.

Albert Gibert, Managing Director of APC Europe, talks about the business, the upcoming projects of the company and the thrill and satisfaction of winning the 2022 Best Company Award by PIMEC Vallès Oriental.

What do you think makes APC Europe a leading company in its business segment?

A.G.: Our business model is very unique. From a waste product —the animal blood generated by the meat industry—, we produce functional proteins with high added value using technology similar to that of the dairy industry, with centrifugation and concentration processes, and according to the highest quality and safety standards.

Today, our end products are sold in more than 50 countries. And in our daily business, we always keep our corporate values in mind: our eagerness to continuously develop innovative products for human, animal and plant nutrition and health, and our willingness to share with our suppliers our commitment to adding value. Although we are part of an American multinational with headquarters in Iowa, the Granollers site is the group’s pioneer in innovation and development of new products. And it is here where we have the most complex factory, with more value-added products and a highly competent team.

APC Europe is particularly active in projects to improve microbiota, reduce mucosal inflammation and improve intestinal health. In addition, you started a very successful project with Hospital de Mar amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Can you tell us about it?

A.G.: It is a clinical trial with immunoglobulins to prevent the side effects of COVID-19. We are carrying it out with researchers and doctors from the Hospital de Mar Institute, the University of California-Davis and the University of Texas. The project seeks to analyse whether a nutritional supplement is useful to prevent the worst side effects of the disease and its progression from mild to severe states in 420 patients.

A nutritional supplement with bovine serum will be implemented, as it is very rich in immunoglobulins, vitally important antibodies that flow through the bloodstream and, in this case, act on one of the main reservoirs of the virus in the human body, the intestine. Immunoglobulins of bovine origin have been shown in animal models to be useful in reducing inflammation caused by the infection, as well as in reducing the progression to more severe forms of the disease and the post-COVID syndrome.

How has the business changed in the wake of the pandemic and the launch of the project studying the impact of immunoglobulins on patients with long COVID?

A.G.: COVID-19 had a twofold immediate effect for us. On the one hand, the core business of human, animal and plant nutrition products continued despite occasional supply chain issues. On the other hand, all research activities on new products and applications, where human interaction is key, were interrupted.
Nonetheless, following the COVID-19 pandemic, we started the new joint project with Hospital de Mar, which is still in the analysis phase, as it includes more than 200 patients and more than 450 variables for each patient. Despite the challenge, the results gathered so far look encouraging.

APC Europe has more than 30 years of experience in this business sector. It had to adapt to the ever-changing demands of society, for example by promoting animal welfare and more sustainable processes. What has this adaptation been like?

A.G.: In the last 30 years, we have evolved from the company Aprocat to the multinational APC, our current parent enterprise. Logically, we had to respond to changes in society as far as possible, always trying to go one step further.

For example, plasma for pig feed, which is one of our most important products, is known to be a key ingredient for animal welfare. In fact, our entire business is part of the circular economy, since we place value on what others consider waste.

In addition, I would like to point out that we currently have several energy saving projects underway, including solar panels, heat exchangers and water reuse systems, among others.

What projects are you currently working on?

A.G.: Our current projects focus on finding more specific blood fractions to increase the effectiveness of our products. Our products have proven that they can lead to improved systemic inflammation processes in humans and animals. Also, we have kept working to enhance animal health with new products that treat diseases and contribute to the recovery of animals.

What role do you think public authorities should play in promoting innovation and sustainability?

A.G.: Catalonia has a network of infrastructures that support innovation, such as IRTA, CRESA and several universities. This is very useful for us when it comes to developing new products and applications. The main role of the Government is to provide the right environment so that companies can innovate and be as sustainable as possible.

Your work has been recognised on several occasions, for example with the Best Company Award in April 2022. How do you feel about this distinction?
A.G.: We had never participated in awards like these before. The other finalists had a very interesting business model, as well as a strong focus on social responsibility and sustainability. This award is in recognition of the good work of our employees, and certainly something were are very proud of.

Albert Gibert
Managing Director of APC Europe

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