Cargill breaks ground on new specialty fats facility Malaysia in push towards global market dominance

MALAYSIA – American multinational food company, Cargill has begun construction on a RM 145 million (US$35 million) expansion of its specialty fats production facility in Port Klang, Malaysia in an effort to meet rising demand for the commodity.  

“Specialty fats are incredibly popular due to their versatility and functionality,” said Jennifer Shomenta, president and group leader for Cargill’s global edible oils solutions business.  

“With this investment, we’ll be better positioned to support our customers’ innovation journey, equipped with the building blocks necessary to co-create tailored solutions that align with their unique needs.” 

Cargill plans to install dry palm fractionation capacity at the new facility, enabling the production of a range of specialty fats for use in chocolates, coatings, fillings and compounds, spreads, bakery fats and other applications. 

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The Port Klang expansion is expected to be complete in late 2023 and will enable the commodities trading giant to significantly expand its global portfolio in specialty fats. 

Derived from seed and tropical oils, specialty fats offer a wide range of attributes from heat resistance to quick meltdown for enhanced flavor release, among other functional attributes. 

The ingredients are also key to improving flavor profile, product stability and other sensory needs of customers in the rapidly growing meat and dairy alternatives market.

They also have been found to offer notable health benefits. 

Shometa notes that with the new facility, Cargill will be able to simplify the steps food manufacturers go through to procure their specialty fats.  

“Through our investments at Port Klang and across our global processing footprint, we’ll eliminate those extra steps, giving customers the convenience of a single, trusted partner, all backed by Cargill’s technical expertise and global resources,” she adds.  

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The recent project comes on the heels of a nearly complete RM83 million (US$20 million) upgrade to the facility, which began one year ago that enhanced the site’s R&D capabilities and production capacity. 

Taken together, these two Port Klang projects are the first of what Cargill expects to be multiple investments, spread across its specialty fat production plants around the globe.  

The more than RM415 million initiative will thrust Cargill to the forefront of specialty fats production, with state-of-the-art facilities and a reliable, end-to-end sustainable supply chain. 

Cargill also plans to further upgrade its Malaysia Edible Oils R&D Center, enhancing lab equipment and pilot plants to align with the Port Klang facility’s new specialty fat capabilities. 

Clean-label alternative to maltodextrin 

Meanwhile, Scientists at Cargill have developed a highly soluble rice flour that can replace maltodextrin in a range of applications and offer a clean label alternative to formulators.  

According to Cargill, the ingredient can replace maltodextrin in a range of applications, including reduced-sugar bakery products, as well as dairy, powdered beverages, and convenience foods, among other food applications.  

Used as a 1:1 replacement for maltodextrin and calorie equivalent, the ingredient is part of a toolbox for sugar reduction.  

Sarah Jelken, AVP, Starch Product Line Director says the product’s labelling as ‘soluble rice flour’ also makes it more appealing to label-reading consumers. 

The food ingredients major confirmed that the ingredient has been in development over a few years, and that the supply is immediately available. 

Earlier, Cargill announced that it had completed a US$100 million expansion of its cocoa processing facilities in Yopougon, Côte d’Ivoire, a project that makes the Yopougon facility the single largest cocoa grinding plant in Africa. 

As part of the expansion, Cargill doubled production capacity at the site, enhanced infrastructure and implemented safety improvements.  

The expansion also resulted in the creation of nearly 100 full-time, local jobs and hundreds of indirect jobs, Cargill said. 

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