Beneo invests €30M in prebiotic chicory root production expansion
30 Nov 2021 --- Functional ingredients manufacturer Beneo, is investing more than €30 million (US$34 million) to expand its production capacity for prebiotic chicory root.
The multi-million investment program will expand capacity for its production sites in Pemuco, Chile and Oreye, Belgium. The sum is an initial investment for the company’s first step, though the final investment sum was not disclosed.
“The investment will ensure a significant capacity increase of more than 40% of Beneo’s global chicory root fiber production to meet rising customer demand and drive further growth in the market,” Christoph Boettger, member of the executive board of Beneo tells NutritionInsight.
Global business activity
The developments will see Beneo utilizing two production sites in both the northern and southern hemispheres. This will ensure a secure supply of prebiotic chicory root fiber across the globe and offer flexibility to customers, the company notes.
Boettger observes that current market trends see a high demand for prebiotic chicory root fiber due to the versatile benefits it offers in product development.
“As a result of this high demand, supply is tight worldwide,” he flags. However, he notes that an earlier investment the company made will see a “significant capacity increase” starting in the summer next year.
“As announced previously, in summer 2022, a second refinery line in Pemuco will already increase the production capacity significantly. But we won’t stop there. The recent investment decision will ensure that Beneo’s production capacity is further growing,” he further highlights.
Consumer interest driving demand
Across industry, chicory root fiber is marked as a trending product that is high in demand from consumers concerned for their immunity and gut health.
Over the past four years, the number of new product launches containing chicory root fiber inulin has grown by 50%, with the market expected to reach US$11.48 billion in 2028, according to Beneo.
“From a consumer perspective, topics such as immune health, staying fit and healthy are all front of mind due to the pandemic and therefore, broader issues such as gut health are also of increased interest to them. The use of chicory root fibers in new product developments allows manufacturers to respond to these leading consumer trends thanks to the versatile benefits they offer,” notes Boettger.
The ingredient can be used in various applications, including bakery, cereals, dairy, confectionery and baby food.
The use of chicory root fibers in product development allows manufacturers to respond to leading consumer trends such as digestive health and immunity, inner well-being, weight management, blood sugar management and bone health, highlights Beneo.
In Indonesia, chicory root fibers inulin and oligofructose have been approved for a prebiotic claim for the first time by the country’s National Agency of Drug and Food Control (Badan Pengawas Obat dan Makanan). Beneo says the approval was possible by its continuous research and communication efforts with local authorities.
Last year, Thailand’s Food and Drug Administration approved a health claim for Sensus’ prebiotic chicory root fiber in terms of increasing bifidobacterium in the intestine.
Beyond the capacity increase, Beneo is also aiming to reduce its CO2 emissions.
“The production site in Pemuco will be carbon neutral in a few years,” outlines Boettger.
Additionally, the site in Oreye will have reduced the specific energy consumption per ton of product by more than 50% by 2030, he underscores. This contributes to the company’s broader goal of being carbon neutral in 2045.
The new investment is also slated to increase staffing by 15% over the next few years, states Beneo.
By Andria Kades
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