NETHERLANDS – Grain and agricultural giant, Cargill is investing US$22.5 million in its starch facility in Sas Van Gent, The Netherlands to serve more customers with quality starches.

It involves the construction of a new building and the installation of two new roll dryers in the Sas Van Gent production facility.

The plant will be enhanced with high food-safety standards and hygienic process design, according to Cargill.

The investment aims to increase capacity in instant starches in support of increased consumer demand for convenient and great-tasting foods.

Cargill said this will also help address the global demand for instant starch which is used as a key ingredient in many cold prepared foods and other categories.

“Consumers have had to adapt their eating habits to their busier lifestyles, which has led to an increased demand for convenience food” said Denis Palacioglu, starch product line manager, Cargill in Europe.

“This investment in the plant allows Cargill to deliver on the current consumer demand, and to prepare for even greater customer needs in the future.”

Modified starches are used in practically all starch applications, such as in food products as a thickening agent, stabilizer or emulsifier.

According to Euromonitor, retail volumes for ready meals, sauces, soups, cakes and pastries combined grew by 11% from 2013 to 2018, well above the growth of overall packaged food of 7% in the same period.

Cargill last October launched a new food starch sustainability programme in Europe to ensure a long-term sustainable crop supply for starch production.

The Waxy Corn Promise enables the company to source waxy corn 100% sustainably from European farmers, with an aim to address key sustainability challenges in Europe’s waxy corn growing regions.

In the same year, Cargill expanded its food starch range with the launch of three potato starches designed for meat, meat alternatives and culinary applications.

The starches, available under the SimPure brand are said to offer superior viscosity and improved sensory experience, without compromising on taste and appearance.