In a restructure of Cerestar, its sweeteners and starch operations in western Europe, Cargill said it will consolidate UK glucose production at Cerestar Manchester, and shut down sweeteners production at the Cerestar Tilbury facility.
These changes are needed to reflect market conditions, and unfortunately could result in about 95 job losses at Tilbury and head count reductions at Manchester," the 124,000 strong firm said in a statement yesterday.
Cerestar produces sweeteners (including glucose syrups and fructose blends) and wheat proteins for food makers, including confectioners, brewers, beverage makers, dairies and bakeries.
But the firm said this week that a key part of the restructuring will be to move towards the production of sweeteners from wheat, rather than corn.
In line with this strategy, Cargill also announced plans to pour funds into a new wheat plant on its Manchester site.
The new plant, due for completion by the first quarter of 2007, is forecast to process about 750,000 tonnes of wheat, per year, for sweeteners production.
While the ingredients industry is bumping along today at around 3 to 4 per cent growth, suppliers of sweeteners are enjoying far stronger growth rates; 8.3 per cent year on year as rising health concerns drive consumers towards sugar free or low calorie products.
Market analysts Freedonia predict high single digit growth for sweeteners will continue until 2008.
Aside from sweeteners, in the last month acquisitive Cargill has cleared a deal to buy Nestlé Brazil's whey production facilities in São Paulo, to buy German industrial chocolate facility Schierstedter Schokoladefabrik, agreed to buy a sunflower seed crushing facility in Ukraine from Ukrainian consumer food company Chumak, and purchased Citrico, the number three global spot for supplies of pectin extracted and blended from citrus peel.