Palsgaard expands Dutch factory to boost “world’s only sustainable emulsifiers”
13 Feb 2023 --- Palsgaard is breaking ground on an expansion of its specialist factory in Zierikzee, the Netherlands. The US$19.2 million (€18 million) development is scheduled for completion in 2024 and will double the company’s global capacity to produce polyglycerol polyricinoleate (PGPR).
Kim Bøjstrup, Palsgaard CCO, tells FoodIngredientsFirst, “This expansion will boost our PGPR capacity – almost doubling it to 11,500 metric tons annually – so it’s an essential element of our strategy at a time when demand is growing by 10% a year.”
“Additionally, it will give us a lot more storage capacity, which will help protect our customers against any future supply chain disruptions.”
The factory produces high-grade PGPR, a co-emulsifier used during chocolate production to control flow, reduce viscosity and optimize molding and enrobing.
It also reduces fat content in margarine spreads and is a practical, plant-based color-dispersing aid that replaces petrol-based waxes in plastics.
The new CO2-neutral facility puts Palsgaard’s strategy for sustainable solutions at the forefront of operations.
“To our knowledge, we’re the world’s only commercial source of fully sustainable emulsifiers,” says Arne Pedersen, regional application manager at Palsgaard.
Bøjstrup highlights how difficult it is to maintain sustainable production of an energy-intensive product.
“One of the big challenges for Palsgaard is that the production of emulsifiers is highly energy-intensive, so we’re continually on a quest to improve our energy efficiency and use renewables,” he says.
“That was a central consideration when we designed the new extension, which will give us an additional 1,500 square meters of solar panels and three new reactors, allowing us to electrify our PGPR production completely.”
Palsgaard has noted that consumers are both trending toward and willing to pay more for products that are sustainably produced.
“Many, if not most of our customers, are already looking at ways to reduce their environmental impact,” notes Bøjstrup.
“Moreover, they understand that using sustainably produced ingredients makes sense from a business point of view because it increases the value of their end products. Eighty-two percent of consumers would be willing to pay more for food containing sustainably produced ingredients.”
The business of being green
Bøjstrup highlights how demand for sustainable emulsifiers is only going to rise.
“Demand is only going to increase. More than nine in ten people say it’s important that the ingredients in the products they buy are produced sustainably, with 49% saying it’s essential,” he says.
“Climate change will dominate the agenda in the future, and consumers will reward companies that take steps to reduce their carbon footprints. Ultimately, we don’t want Palsgaard to be the only company that achieves carbon-neutral production – we want our competitors to do the same.”
In similar news, Palsgaard is also investing in its leading production site in Denmark and is installing a new spray cooling tower. The construction of multiple new reaction, distillation, and esterification plants will support the facility. The US$133 million investment will double its production capacity by 2024.
The climate crisis and the war in Ukraine heavily impacted supply chains, causing a sunflower lecithin shortage last summer, which disrupted Palsgaard’s production.
In response to this, Palsgaard Netherlands site director Joris Dhonthe says of the new facility: “This expansion will substantially increase storage capacity for raw materials and finished goods, which will secure business continuity in times of supply chain disruptions.”
By James Davies
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