DSM Integrated Annual Report 2020

Innovation strategy

Innovation is what transforms our ‘Bright Science’ into ‘Brighter Living’. We aim to develop innovative, sustainable solutions by leveraging our unique scientific competences and our profound understanding of:

  • The science behind nutrition, and the capability to develop new nutritional ingredients with proven health benefits, supported by our state-of-the-art Biotechnology Centers, providing sustainable alternatives for chemical synthesis, as well as plant- and animal-derived ingredients
  • Materials science and the capability to convert this into Sustainable Living applications, supported by access to global state-of-the art laboratories

Our sales growth is driven by our ability to continually deliver innovative and improved products and solutions to meet our customers’ needs. Our innovations reflect our commitment to healthier and more sustainable outcomes and so help drive the performance of our Brighter Living Solutions portfolio.

Innovation sales have also improved our profitability, delivering higher margins than the average of our running business. Our innovation sales are defined as products and applications that have been introduced over the past five years. We aspire to maintain the contribution made by these sales at around 20% of total sales, which we consider to be a healthy proportion in view of the overall balance of our product portfolio and product life cycles. We will continue to invest in differentiating science and technology.

Driving the innovation pipeline through seven growth themes

We are adapting our innovation approach from being project-based to platform-based to deliver a business-anchored pipeline of innovations that is aligned with our future strategic needs and supports our growth ambitions. We have identified seven overarching growth themes that capture the major global societal, technological and environmental trends that inform our innovation platforms. In Nutrition & Health, we focus on four growth themes: Pathways, Proteins, Prevention and Precision. In Sustainable Living, we focus on three growth themes: Improved Health & Living. Green Products & Applications and New Mobility & Connectivity.

Innovation growth themes

Innovation growth themes (graphic)

This move from individual projects to innovation platforms provides focus, and links our existing portfolio with our future pipeline. When we look ahead to 2025 and beyond, our success will not be dependent on several large projects only. Instead, each innovation platform will have a clear pipeline of multiple projects at different stages of maturity.

In Nutrition & Health, we focus on four growth themes: Pathways, Proteins, Prevention and Precision.

  • Pathways: using our base strength in chemistry and biotechnology to manufacture ingredients with a better environmental footprint. Through our strengths and advances in biotechnology we can look to microorganisms to produce ingredients and intermediates; for example, the innovation platform of Sustainable Lipids, which includes algal-based omega-3 Veramaris® for more sustainable aquaculture
  • Proteins: solutions that reduce the footprint of animal proteins and meet the growing demand for meat and dairy alternatives; for example, the Animal Emission Reduction platform, which includes our feed additive Bovaer®, which significantly reduces methane emissions from cattle, and plant-based specialty proteins such as CanolaPro™
  • Prevention: using our rich portfolio of active ingredients (e.g. vitamins, lipids, HMOs) which all exist in nature to optimize health and immunity. For example, as we learn more about how our ingredients modulate the gut microbiome, we see potential to develop solutions that build resilience to stress and disease in people and animals. In the Animal Gut Health platform, for example, we have a full range of antibiotic alternatives that promote animal health while tackling anti-microbial resistance (AMR)
  • Precision: digitally enabled new business models to enhance nutrition precision, ensuring the right nutrition to maximize health for individual humans and animals; an example is our personalized nutrition platform, delivered through Hologram Sciences, Inc., which provides nutrition and coaching recommendations

In Sustainable Living, we focus on three growth themes: Improved Health & Living, Green Products & Applications and New Mobility & Connectivity as described in the Materials strategy section.