Cargill opens pectin processing plant in Brazil

The product from the plant will be used to make jams, fruit-flavoured beverages, acidic dairy drinks, yogurts, fruit preparations and confectionery

Cargill has announced the opening of a pectin production facility in Bebedouro, Brazil. The plant, which the company says represents a $150 million investment, significantly expands the company’s production capacity for the texturising ingredient.

The plant’s proximity to citrus fields ensures a supply of fresh fruit peels, the raw material required for pectin production. It will produce the company’s HM pectins, increasing the company’s supply and expanding its production presence in 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-flavoured dairy drinks,” said Laerte Moraes, Cargill’s MD, Starches, Sweeteners and Texturisers, 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.

The product from the plant will be used to make jams, fruit-flavoured beverages, acidic dairy drinks, yogurts, fruit preparations and confectionery, as well as personal care products. In these applications, pectin serves as a thickener and gelling agent, stabilising proteins in acidic environments and aiding in the production of sugar-reduced beverages.

The plant leverages technology to reduce its environmental footprint, including sustainability certification of raw materials. Its proximity to its citrus suppliers helps minimise CO2 emissions from raw material transport and promotes regenerative agriculture practices, the company says. The Bebedouro plant is also powered by thermal energy generated from biomass and biogas.

“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%. Our Bebedouro plant will continue that commitment, using advanced technology to minimise our carbon footprint.”

Initial shipments of pectin are expected to begin by year-end.

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