Appeal to appetite: Strong packaged food demand in China due to population boom, increased health awareness – Ingredion VP
The appetite is driven by the population boom, rise of the middle class, and demand for better consumption experience and healthier choices, said the VP and GM for North Asia and APAC Commercial of ingredients firm Ingredion, Jacques Guglielmi.
To fulfil this demand, the firm recently launched its third modified starch manufacturing site in Shandong, China, called Shandong South.
Without divulging figures, he said the latest addition was Ingredion’s “biggest investment” in the country and could more than double its output.
The first plant was built in Shanghai in 2004, followed by a second in Shandong in 2016.
“We see a strong opportunity for Ingredion in the key categories of dairy, savoury, snack food and beverages. There is a growing demand for good quality, sustainable starches to make those products.
“From our research, 68% of consumers also look for better texturing and premium, indulgent formulations. For example, we are assisting customers in producing crispy, low-fat potato chips and creamy, low-fat yoghurt with better mouthfeel,” said Guglielmi.
According to Ingredion, Shandong South features advanced digital technologies and automation in producing corn-based native and modified starch products. It can integrate production, from wet milling to high-end texturising, thereby gaining good control over quality.
The area of Shandong was also chosen to ensure the security of supplies as it is closer to local farmers, creating a good logistics hub and geographically connected ecosystem. With better product quality and a resilient supply chain, the firm has already started exporting to countries like Japan and Australia.
Besides supplying ingredients, the firm co-creates solutions with customers with pilot testing, lab work and consulting. In this aspect, Guglielmi said the firm aims to design more solutions and formulations in the next five years in China.
When discussing the impact on climate, Ingredion emphasises that its integrated manufacturing process and serving the local market in Shandong triggers a reduction in carbon emission. The reason is the new plant introduces regenerative agricultural practices, including new fertiliser techniques and pest control. Approximately 5000 farmers are part of this partnership.
Based on the abovementioned efforts, Ingredion, on the whole, targets “double-digit” growth in China within the next five years.
“It’s not every day we have such an investment size in the starch segment. Ingredion made a major investment, and we did it in China because we have good capabilities here. The market is growing, we have the best market leadership and are recognised by our customers.
“These factors help us provide solutions for them. We are confident it will make a meaningful contribution to our business partners globally, especially those with a footprint in the Asia Pacific,” said Guglielmi.
Healthy ageing, probiotics and protein are major focus areas of our upcoming Growth Asia Summit in Singapore from 11 to 13 October. Check out big-name brands, international experts and pioneering start-ups slated to present here.