BENEO announces investment in Chile and Belgium chicory root fiber facilities

By Jim Cornall

- Last updated on GMT

The BENEO production site in Oreye, Belgium. Pic: BENEO
The BENEO production site in Oreye, Belgium. Pic: BENEO

Related tags: Beneo, chicory root fiber

Functional ingredient manufacturer BENEO has announced a multi-million investment program to expand capacity for its prebiotic chicory root fiber production sites in Pemuco, Chile and Oreye, Belgium.

The first step will see more than €30m ($34m) invested. The entire program will lead to a capacity increase of more than 40% of BENEO’s global chicory root fiber production to meet rising customer demand and drive further growth within the market. The work on both production sites is beginning in 2022.

Current market trends see a high demand in prebiotic chicory root fiber. Over the past four years, the number of new product launches containing chicory root fiber inulin has grown by 50% globally, with the market expected to reach $11.48bn by 2028. BENEO’s latest investment will allow for continued fulfillment of market needs within the food and feed industry.

Christoph Boettger, member of the executive board at BENEO, said, “BENEO's chicory root fibers 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."

Inulin and oligofructose from chicory root fiber are the only plant-based prebiotics. According to the International Scientific Association for Pro- and Prebiotics (ISAPP), they belong to the very few proven prebiotics. The use of chicory root fibers 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 said having production sites in both the northern and southern hemispheres ensures a secure global supply of prebiotic chicory root fiber.

Boettger said, “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. 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.”

As well as contributing to BENEO’s carbon neutral ambitions, the investment will create job opportunities as a result of the expanded production facilities. At the Pemuco plant, for example, an increase of approximately 15% in employee numbers is anticipated over the next few years.

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