Upscaling chicory root production sustainably

BENEO is demonstrating how supply security and sustainability can go hand in hand, as it’s managed to increase global capacity for its prebiotic chicory root fibres by 30% thanks to a EU€90 million investment into its production plant in Pemuco, Chile, while reducing specific energy consumption by 35% at the same time.

As consumer awareness of digestive health, immunity, the gut microbiome and its beneficial effect on overall wellbeing grows, so does the demand for the prebiotic chicory root fibres. To deliver a secure supply of chicory root fibre while ensuring sustainability remains a top priority, the company has taken steps to reduce specific energy consumption by 35%.

At the Pemuco plant in Chile, the company conducted an analysis of the entire production process in order to identify areas where energy efficiency could be improved. Based on findings, it has upgraded existing processing equipment and invested in new technology such as new evaporation systems, to reduce the energy required and ensure the energy is used in the most efficient way possible. In doing so, this allows for the improvement of the overall production process while remaining energy efficient.

“At BENEO, ensuring reliable and consistent delivery to our customers goes hand in hand with taking steps towards more sustainable and environmentally friendly production processes,” said Guillermo Fernandez, Head of Manufacturing at BENEO. “This also means that for every investment the highest level of energy efficiency is applied. Therefore, the significant reduction of specific energy consumption at our chicory root fibre plant in Pemuco is an important milestone for us.”

Consumer interest in prebiotics has grown; to cater for this demand BENEO is opening a new refinery line in Pemuco, Chile, by the end of this year, leading to a 15% increase of its total chicory root fibres capacity. This will be followed by an additional 15% increase to be completed next year, which will result in a total increase of 30%.

Chicory root fibres are plant-based prebiotics and according to the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP) are one of the few proven prebiotics. Positive effects of chicory root fibres have shown in bifidobacteria abundance in gut microbiota and on bowel function parameters.

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Media contact

Caitlin Gittins
Editor, International Bakery
Tel: +44 (0) 1622 823 920

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