Hydrocolloids specialist CP Kelco has said it intends to increase production of CMC (carboxymethyl cellulose) at its plant in Äänekoski, Finland in line with growing market demand.
The company said it will expand production by up to 25% in the next year to 18 months, at what is already the largest purified CMC production facility in the world – and it has hinted at further expansion in the future.
CP Kelco’s CMC director Bill Letsinger said in a statement: “Global growth continues as CMC customers need reliable supply and consistent quality. By upgrading our production capabilities, this latest CMC expansion provides us the flexibility for further expansion.
“The expansion plans are being put in place in anticipation of continued market growth globally and would allow further existing footprint expansion or a Greenfield facility.”
CMC is used in a wide variety of food and beverage applications as a thickener, viscosity modulator and to stabilise emulsions. Alongside many other hydrocolloids, food manufacturers have turned to CMC as an alternative to guar gum, which has seen huge price volatility in recent years. As a result, CMC demand has increased and prices have too.
Several major suppliers have increased their CMC prices over the past year, citing increases in raw material, energy and fuel costs.
Letsinger added: “By continuously pursuing cost-reduction and environmental projects, in addition to capacity expansion projects, CP Kelco will keep pace with growing CMC demand and remains well positioned to meet our customers’ needs now and in the future.”