Cargill to double production of tapioca syrup amid increased US appetite for Clean Label sweeteners
May 06, 2022 — In response to strong consumer demand for label-friendly ingredients, Cargill has expanded processing capabilities at its sweetener plant in Cikande, Indonesia to “more than double” production capacity of the company for organic non-GMO tapioca syrup.
“American consumers’ appetite for products made with ingredients perceived as simple, familiar and responsibly sourced continues to grow and evolve,” notes Dana Johnson, Vice President of Sweetness Segment, Cargill Starches, Sweeteners and Texturizers. North America.
“As our customers seek to meet this demand, our tapioca syrup is increasingly in the sweet spot – offering transparent sourcing, organic and non-GMO certifications, and positive consumer perceptions.”
Strip of applications of softness
Derived from the cassava plant, tapioca syrup is widely used in food products such as ice cream, snack bars, and confectionery products like hard candies, caramels, marshmallows, and gummies.
Cargill’s portfolio includes a full range of carbohydrate profiles and dextrose equivalent levels, a range that provides manufacturers with maximum formulation flexibility.
The range of syrups also offers certified organic ranges to further enhance the attractiveness of the products.
Cargill reveals upgrades to its tapioca plant – which include additional filling stations, blending and storage tanks and warehouse improvements – will help it meet its annual syrup production volume target of 12,000 metric tons of tapioca by 2024.
The plant’s proximity to major tapioca growing regions in Asia and the additional production capacity should help meet demand in the rapidly growing North American and Asian private label sweetener markets.
Tapping into tapioca
Apart from its sweetening syrup, tapioca is also used to create thickening agents. While ingredients like modified starches have fallen out of favor, other newer – but still familiar – plant-based starches have gained traction.
Among this class of upstarts, data from Innova Market Insights reveals that tapioca starch is growing fastest.
Cargill’s latest tapioca starch ranges are the SimPure 99600 and 99900 series.
“These starches are light years ahead,” says Erin Radermacher, technical service manager for Cargill’s hydrocolloid line. “They are much more functional than the starches of just a few years ago.”
The two groups of starches share a few common traits, such as tapioca’s well-deserved reputation for its neutral flavor. But their differences give Cargill’s texturing toolkit important nuance, filling critical functional gaps.
Consider their application in the dairy space. On one side, there are Greek yogurts in cups. “Consumers expect these yogurts to have a heavier, slightly gel-like texture,” says Radermacher.
For these spoonable options, Cargill’s SimPure 99600 series combine soft gel properties with high process tolerance, allowing them to withstand the pumping and shearing associated with commercial yogurt production.
Then there are the stirred yogurts which require a starch with more fluidity. For these, the SimPure 99900 series fits the bill. Despite their more fluid texture, these starches provide essential viscosifying properties, while maintaining process tolerance.
Cargill’s Highway to Growth
The US$2.4 million investment in the Cikande sweeteners plant is part of Cargill’s ongoing efforts to improve its ingredient portfolio and production capabilities to better support its customers in Asia.
Other key investments in the company’s sweeteners and starches business include a joint venture with leading Thai modified starch producer Starpro and a US$100 million investment to build a new wet corn mill at its plant. plant in Pandaan, Indonesia, to produce more corn-based starches, sweeteners and animal feed ingredients.
In recent developments, Cargill has expanded its RadiPure pea protein to India as well as Turkey, Africa and the Middle East to meet plant-based food applications that are gaining popularity.
Earlier this year, the food giant targeted Europe’s growing flexitarian appetite with a new range of vegan chocolates and couverture chocolates. Chocolate ExtraVeganZa is positioned to deliver a “truly indulgent sensory experience,” using plant-based “powerful ingredients” sunflower seed powder, rice syrup, and organic rice syrup.
By Benjamin Ferrer
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