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BENEO plans EUR 50 million rice starch expansion

Due to the increased customer demand for rice starches, BENEO, one of the leading manufacturers of functional food ingredients, is set to double its production capacity in Wijgmaal, Flanders. The agri-business – which is part of the German Südzucker Group – revealed a two-stage expansion process, investing a total of EUR 50 million over the next two years.

BENEO plant in Wijgmaal, Flanders

Clean labels in high demand

The investment is the company’s response to the growing demand for natural and cleaner labels, especially in the European and American markets. According to Roland Vanhoegaerden, operations managing director at BENEO, the ingredients business shows strong economic resilience, making the investment an extremely reliable choice. “One of the key ‘ingredients’ of our confidence is the clean label trend, which is prompting food manufacturers to move away from artificial additives by replacing them with natural alternatives, such as rice starch.”

Frontrunner in sustainability

The Wijgmaal plant has a 160-year history in Flanders and BENEO has been investing aggressively to adjust the facility to the newest standards. “Our factory is located in the middle of an urban area, so we are constantly innovating to reduce congestion and noise levels in the neighborhood,” Vanhoegaerden explains. “Thanks to a recent investment in our docking station, we’ve managed to increase barge use, diminishing transport by truck. This is a reduction in both cost and traffic.”

Collateral benefits

As a result of the investment, the number of production lines at the Wijgmaal facility will increase from two to three. Firstly, the tail end of the production process for existing lines will benefit from the installation of a third drier and dewatering line to reduce bottlenecks and increase efficiency. Secondly, the front end of the production process will be extended. During the expansion, the facility will add up to 20 full-time workers to its 180-person team. The expansion is expected to also provide further work to maintenance and engineering contractors in the vicinity.

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Reported by
29 July 2020

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