The investment plan will see BENEO increase production at sites in Pemuco, Chile, and Oreye, Belgium. In the first phase, scheduled to begin in early 2022, more than €30m will be spent to ramp up capacity. When completed, the entire programme will lift BENEO’s global chicory root fibre production by more than 40%.
Meeting rising demand
BENEO said that the investment would help it to meet ‘rising consumer demand’ and ‘drive further growth within the market’.
The supplier said that it is witnessing ‘high demand’ for prebiotic chicory root fibre thanks to the ‘versatile’ benefits it offers in product development. According to Euromonitor data, over the past four years the number of new products containing chicory root fibre has risen by 50%. Forecasts from Research and Market predict the sector will reach a value of US$11.48bn by 2028.
BENEO said its increased capacity will enable it to continue to fulfil the needs of the food and feed industry.
“BENEO's chicory root fibres meet key consumer needs of today and we are convinced that they will continue to play a central role in healthy nutrition in the future. With increased capacity, BENEO continues to offer a secure supply to its customers and partners worldwide,” said Christoph Boettger, member of the Executive Board at BENEO.
Plant-based nutritional benefits
BENEO revealed that the chicory root fibres inulin and oligofructose are the ‘only’ plant-based prebiotics.
According to the International Scientific Association for Pro- and Prebiotics (ISAPP), chicory root is rich in prebiotics and chicory fibre can be added to products including yoghurts, cereals, breads, biscuits, desserts or drinks. “Consuming at least 5 grams of prebiotics daily is recommended for improved gut health,” ISAPP said.
The organisation noted prebiotics can be used to modulate your microbiome for ‘better health’, linking consumption to ‘established health benefits’ such as calcium absorption and blood sugar regulation.
“The use of chicory root fibres 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,” BENEO suggested.
Sustainability and security of supply
BENEO is investing in two production sites – in the northern and southern hemispheres – in order to provide ‘flexibility’ to its customers and ensure security of supplies globally.
“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,” Boettger elaborated.
The executive also noted that investment is decreasing the carbon footprint of the ingredient. “On top of this capacity increase, CO2 emissions are being reduced. This means that the production site in Pemuco will be carbon neutral in a few years. Additionally, the site in Oreye will have reduced the specific energy consumption per ton of product by more than 50% by 2030.”
These efforts are contributing to the company’s goal of being carbon neutral in 2045, the company said.