Following the news that Cargill and AKV Langholt have invested $22.5 million in a new potato starch production facility, FoodBev spoke with Cargill’s EMEA starch product manager Laura Goodbrand about the company’s latest expansion.
Cargill says the plant will be an expansion of its Langholt facility in Denmark, and the investment broadens Cargill’s starch portfolio, which includes native, functional native and modified starches.
It is estimated that the new production unit will be fully operational by mid-2018.
We discussed the factors which led to the investment and what kind of consumers the company’s clean-label starches are targeted at.
Can you give us an idea of how much this investment is going to increase capacity for Cargill starches?
Overall, the investment will greatly expand our production of clean-label starches, and that capacity will apply to three different ‘families’ of potato starches, all delivering slightly different functionalities for our customers.
Predominantly, the products will be for convenience and meat applications.
Will the development expand existing product lines or will the focus be on new products?
All of the products that we will be launching will be new products, so we’re really excited by this investment because it will allow us to enter into a market where there is a huge demand for functional ingredients that deliver top-quality results to the customer.
How does this play into consumer demand for more natural, clean-label products?
So we’re developing this new volume of starches which are physically processed rather than chemically processed.
As a result, the products themselves offer a functionality that can be used in harsh processing conditions that our customers use, such as in the production of frozen ready meals, but they will carry a simple starch label explanation.
So from a consumer perspective, it’s a simple, recognisable ingredient that has no modified connotations and can be easily seen and declared on that label.
Which market sectors or regions is Cargill seeing the greatest demand for potato starches as a thickener or stabiliser?
Potato starches are a fantastic and really cost-effective stabiliser, from native starches all the way through to the modified range.
For this particular project though, our clean-label starches are really focused on convenience and meat specialists who are looking to get the best viscosity and the best water-holding in their products, and potato is a great way of doing that.
When it comes to label friendliness, a lot of European countries see potato starch as very label friendly. Imagine you were making your own food at home, you would thicken it with a potato, so therefore that kind of consumer in Europe is our key target for this launch.
Can you tell us a little about AKV Langholt? What does that partnership involve and what does it allow you to do in terms of potato starches?
For more than 30 years, the joint venture between Cargill Nordic BS and AKV Langholt has been successfully operating to process and commercialise potato starches.
The venture is based in Jutland, Denmark and AKV is actually a co-operative that is owned by 165 potato farmers, so we work in collaboration with those farmers to get the best back for the products they are making on ground level.
At Cargill, we have the worldwide trade responsibility for that joint venture, so we are undertaking all of the commercial product processing and development to help that joint venture, ultimately helping the farmers get the best results from the products that they grow.
Can we expect this to be followed by further investments?
We’re always looking to innovate, invest and grow, and Cargill as a business is always looking for new strategic areas, so watch this space.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2018