SAUDI ARABIA – American food and agriculture giant Cargill has opened its joint venture corn milling facility with Saudi Arabia’s Arasco, as it aims to meet the growing demand of the region’s food and beverage industry.

The Middle East Food Solutions Company (MEFSCO Corn Milling Facility), which has been inaugurated in Al-Kharj, is Cargill’s first investment in Saudi Arabia.

The two companies signed the MEFSCO deal in 2013.

The MEFSCO facility was built to serve the Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC), which include Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain and Qatar.

The new milling facility is able to double the company’s glucose and starch production capacities, triple total production volume and expand its product portfolio to include high fructose corn syrup to meet the growing demand across the confectionery, juice, bakery and catering segments in the region.

“Entering the Middle East region was of strategic importance for Cargill.

The Middle East and more specifically the Gulf Cooperation Council countries offer important economic opportunities, driven by a growing population, rising income and investments in infrastructure – the food industry is thriving and creating multiple economic opportunities,” said Murat Tarakcioglu, Cargill Foods Middle East, Turkey and North Africa Managing Director.

“We believe that this new facility opens the door to new exciting possibilities which also paves the way for capturing the growth opportunities not only in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia but in the whole Middle East region,” noted Tarakcioglu.

“With the new facility MEFSCO expanded its product portfolio to include high fructose corn syrup to meet the growing demand across the confectionery, juice, bakery and catering segments in the region and started to offer cost-effective bulk solutions,” he added.

The expansion also allows MEFSCO to offer enhanced, market-specific solutions for Middle Eastern customers.

“The Middle East food industry is one of the world’s fastest-growing markets.

The MEFSCO facility gives regional food and beverage manufacturers’ access to a high quality, innovative products produced specifically for them.

Arasco’s local knowledge and supply chain infrastructure were crucial in our ability to design a facility that best serves local market needs,” said Julian Chase, global Leader for Cargill starches, sweeteners and texturizers.

Ziyad Alsheikh, Chief Executive Officer of MEFSCO, also said, “In the Middle East, consumer awareness around food safety and hygiene is growing steadily.

Cargill’s expertise in processing agricultural commodities into high-quality sweeteners and starch-based products will provide our regional customers with an edge in making products that respond to this consumer trend.

Customers will be able to serve the market’s demand for products that MEFSCO will manufacture to the strictest food safety and hygiene standards in our state-of-the-art Al-Kharj facility.”

Additionally, Cargill had signed a joint venture with Puris, the largest North American producer of pea protein, to accelerate a new wave of ‘great tasting, sustainable and label-friendly plant-based foods.’