The two phase plan for CP Kelco, recently bought by private firm JM Huber, will aim for a 25 per cent increase in capacity by mid-2005, moving to double the capacity by the first quarter of 2007.
"Global demand for pectin products continues to be strong, primarily spurred by growth in developing geographies and new product entries in developed markets," said Martin Sapone, business unit director of food gums at the additives and thickeners firm.
Pectin, extracted and blended from citrus peel (lemon, lime, orange and grapefruit), is the gelling agent that makes jams and preserves set, but also enhances the texture and appearance of a range of foods, as well as contributing to flavour release.
The additive has been enjoying strong growth in recent months as food makers increasingly look to include the product in functional food and sports nutrition formulations. In 2003, sales of functional foods and drinks were estimated to be over six times the value of those in 1998, and the market is forecast to double within five years in the UK alone from €1.2 billion to €2.47 billion.
Last year Danisco - the world's second largest pectin producer - expanded its Czech production capacity by 40 per cent to accommodate an expected growth rate of 5-6 per cent on the world market.
The São Paulo State in Brazil, in which the CP Kelco site is based, and the Florida State in the US account for about 50 per cent of the world production of oranges, and about 80 per cent of the worldwide production of orange juice.