Cargill has opened its new, cutting-edge pectin production facility, located in Bebedouro, Brazil.
The plant, which represents a $150 million investment, significantly expands the company's ability to meet growing global demand for the label-friendly texturizing ingredient.
Built in the heart of Brazil's citrus-growing region, the new plant's proximity to citrus fields ensures an abundant supply of fresh fruit peels, the raw material required for premium pectin production. It will produce a full range of Cargill's HM pectins, significantly increasing the company's pectin supply and expanding production presence to two continents – South America and Europe.
"Demand for pectin is at an all-time high, fueled by global trends around sugar reduction and label-friendly formulation, as well as the popularity of fruit-flavored dairy drinks," said Laerte Moraes, Managing director for Cargill's starches, sweeteners and texturizers business in South America. "Adding a fourth pectin production facility to our supply network further secures our position as a reliable supplier of this sought-after ingredient."
The Brazil plant opening culminates a three-year plan to expand Cargill's global pectin production, which also included improvements to its existing pectin facilities in France, Germany and Italy. With the combined added capacity, Cargill is now the world's second largest pectin producer.
A versatile texturizer, the HM pectin produced at Cargill's new plant will be used to make jams, fruit-flavored beverages, acidic dairy drinks, yogurts, fruit preparations and confectionery, as well as personal care products. In these applications, HM pectin fulfills a myriad of roles, serving as an excellent thickener and gelling agent, stabilizing proteins in acidic environments, and aiding in the production of sugar-reduced beverages.
In keeping with Cargill's commitment to reduced Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions across our operations, the new plant leverages advanced technology to reduce its environmental footprint and includes sustainability certification of raw materials. This starts with the plant's proximity to its citrus suppliers and their Rainforest Alliance certified farms, which helps minimize CO2 emissions from raw material transport, promotes regenerative agriculture practices and extends to its state-of-the-art design. Built according to Cargill's stringent guidelines, the Bebedouro plant is powered by thermal energy generated from biomass and biogass, using sustainability practices already proven at other company facilities.
"This new plant is the latest example of how Cargill is working to lower our environmental impact across operations," said Moraes. "Within the last five years, we've reduced the energy consumption of our European plants by 20 percent. Our Bebedouro plant will continue that commitment, using advanced technology to minimize our carbon footprint."
When fully operational, the new plant will supply HM pectin to customers in South America and throughout the world. Initial shipments are expected to begin by year-end.