Brazil has the greatest commercial bovine herd in the world, there are about 195 million animals. It is the country that most exported beef – in volume – last year. The sum was 1.1 million tons.
And the numbers benefit another sector in the beef chain: that of gelatin made from bovine leather. “Brazil is the greatest gelatin storehouse in the world,” states Paulo Reimann, president at Gelita for South America.
The global gelatin market has a turnover of about US$ 3 billion per year; world consumption is estimated in 250,000 tons. Gelita is the main manufacturer of the product, where about 85,000 tons are produced in many countries per year.
Of this volume, 20,000 tons are made in Brazil. There are about 18,000 tons of steer leathers that are transformed into gelatin annually. In total, Brazilian gelatin production is of 25,000 tons.
The greatest part – 80% – of Gelita’s production is exported. Europe and the United States are the main buyers, but the Arab countries are starting to show up in the Gelita’s ranking.
According to Reimann, the first sales to the Arabs were made in 2003. “Currently between two and three containers – about 50 tons – are shipped per month to the region,” he says. Saudi Arabia is the main buyer.
Gelatin production is obtained from materials that have a high grade of collagen, such as bovine and swine skin and steer bones. The raw material is removed exclusively from animals that have been approved for human consumption by veterinary authorities.
In the case of the steer, after slaughtering, the skins are sent to the processing factories. There they are washed to remove the hairs and cut in three layers. The intermediary part is used for gelatin production.
As a part of the process – the leather extraction – is made outside the company, Gelita formed partnerships with leather factories in the country.
“We give the personnel orientation on hygiene, stocking and processing the skins,” states Reimann.
According to him, ensuring access to the external market is related to sanitary certifications in all points of the productive chain – from the place the raw material was generated to the arrival at the factory.
The product exported to the Arabs is always extracted from bovine leather. Gelita also implemented halal production (that follows the Islamic norms).
“We have great interest in expanding sales in the Arab market, which are ascending economies,” states Reimann.
According to the executive, the industry has the capacity of increasing significantly the halal production to meet the Arab needs.
Up to now, the gelatin sold to the Arabs is exclusively for nourishing uses, in recipes. However, Gelita has a line of 250 different types of the product. The pharmaceutical industry, for example, uses a lot of gelatin in the production of capsules for medicines.
The cosmetics sector also uses the product to make moisturizing creams for the skin, hair, and bath oils. Photography is another segment that uses gelatin. The so-called photographic gelatin is used in film coating, for films to be used even in medical diagnostics.
Gelita – www.gelita.com
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