Tuesday, December 1, 2020

BENEO invests €50 million in increasing capacity at Wijgmaal rice starch plant

BENEO, one of the leading manufacturers of functional ingredients, has announced a 50 percent production capacity increase at its Wijgmaal facility to cater for rising customer demand for its rice starches. A two-stage expansion process valued at €50 million, will lead to increased capacity by March 2022.

BENEO forecasts that the growing demand for natural and clean label products, in applications such as coated confectionery, will intensify in major existing markets, including Europe and the Americas. Rice is widely considered a familiar and recognizable product, with 61% of consumers worldwide regarding rice starch as natural[i], making it the ideal ingredient for the development of products that respond to the increasing trend for clean and clearer labels.

Roland Vanhoegaerden, Operations Managing Director Speciality Rice Ingredients at BENEO notes that the nature of the ingredients business is one of long-term thinking and economic resilience. “We fundamentally believe in the value of this investment, with demand for rice starch coming from both natural and organic growth, as well as from new projects and applications. One of the key reasons for our confidence is the ‘clean label’ trend, where food manufacturers are moving away from artificial additives and replacing them with natural alternatives, such as rice starch.”

Rice starch is capable of filling up all of the micropores on the surface of coatings due to its very fine particle size. This so-called “smoothing effect” is especially beneficial for confectionery manufacturers during the production process, since it ensures a stable result where edges do not crack or splinter. Additionally, rice starch allows for the preservation of a brilliant white colour for months.

Since January 1, 2020, titanium dioxide, which is used to fill microscopic irregularities in coatings, is no longer permitted for use in food products in France. There are expectations that other EU markets may follow the country in banning the additive. “We are already seeing some major companies looking at rice starch and we will soon have a much larger capacity in place to address this rising demand,” Vanhoegaerden explains.

Technical trials by the BENEO-Technology Center have shown that clean label rice starch can also play an important role in a variety of other applications including baked goods and products that need to undergo severe processing conditions, such as sauces and dressings, as well as pet food.

The Wijgmaal plant has a proud 160-year history in the area and BENEO has been significantly investing in the facility in recent years, to make it a frontrunner in sustainability. A recent investment into its docking station means that the company can now accept two barges at its plant, rather than one. As a result, two-thirds of rice raw material is now received by barge and just one-third by truck. “The impact is on cost saving, but also on the environment, due to lower carbon emissions and a reduction in traffic. Our factory is in the middle of an urban area and by increasing barge use, we can reduce congestion and noise levels in the neighbourhood,” Vanhoegaerden explains.

Rice starch production consists of several phases: rice cleaning, soaking, milling, sieving, separation, dewatering, and finally drying. BENEO’s investment at the Wijgmaal facilities will increase the number of production lines from two to three. The first phase of the BENEO investment will take place at the tail-end of the production process for existing lines. The installation of a third drier and dewatering line allows the company to reduce bottlenecks and further increase efficiency. The second expansion phase will involve the front-end of the production process, starting from soaking through to the separation of the starch from the proteins in the valorization step.

The facility, which currently employs 180 people, will add up to 20 full-time positions during the course of the expansion, as well as offer further work to maintenance and engineering contractors in the vicinity.

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our news site - please take a moment to read this important message:

As you know, our aim is to bring you, the reader, an editorially led news site and magazine but journalism costs money and we rely on advertising, print and digital revenues to help to support them.

With the Covid-19 pandemic having a major impact on our industry as a whole, the advertising revenues we normally receive, which helps us cover the cost of our journalists and this website, have been drastically affected.

As such we need your help. If you can support our news sites/magazines with either a small donation of even £1, or a subscription to our magazine, which costs just £31.50 per year, (inc p&P and mailed direct to your door) your generosity will help us weather the storm and continue in our quest to deliver quality journalism.

As a subscriber, you will have unlimited access to our web site and magazine. You'll also be offered VIP invitations to our events, preferential rates to all our awards and get access to exclusive newsletters and content.

Just click here to subscribe and in the meantime may I wish you the very best.
















Latest news

Plans for ‘better, fairer’ farming system published

The government has this week set out plans to deliver a “better, fairer farming system” in England. According to government, the new plans will “transform...

Danish Crown to future-proof production

Danish Crown, Europe’s largest pork producer, will increase its investment budget by 25%, investing 2 billion DKK in automation as it looks to future-proof...

Labfacility to celebrate 50th anniversary in 2021

Next year, Labfacility, the UK’s leading manufacturer of temperature sensors, thermocouple connectors and associated temperature instrumentation and stockists of thermocouple cables, celebrates its 50th...

RMGroup offers best-in-class service and support to customers throughout the UK

Leading robotics and automation specialists, RMGroup, prides itself in offering its customers the best service and support provision throughout the UK. Consisting of a network...

DSM launches enzyme for lactose-free, sugar-reduced dairy

Royal DSM has launched a new enzyme to produce high-quality and clean-tasting lactose-free and sugar-reduced dairy products. Joining the company’s Maxilact lactose portfolio, Maxilact Super...

Fourth production site for Troy Foods

Troy Foods, a producer of vegetable, salad and mayonnaise, has expanded its operations with the completion of a fourth site. Supported by a £500,000 investment...

Related news

Plans for ‘better, fairer’ farming system published

The government has this week set out plans to deliver a “better, fairer farming system” in England. According to government, the new plans will “transform...

Danish Crown to future-proof production

Danish Crown, Europe’s largest pork producer, will increase its investment budget by 25%, investing 2 billion DKK in automation as it looks to future-proof...

Labfacility to celebrate 50th anniversary in 2021

Next year, Labfacility, the UK’s leading manufacturer of temperature sensors, thermocouple connectors and associated temperature instrumentation and stockists of thermocouple cables, celebrates its 50th...

RMGroup offers best-in-class service and support to customers throughout the UK

Leading robotics and automation specialists, RMGroup, prides itself in offering its customers the best service and support provision throughout the UK. Consisting of a network...

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close