Beneo expands production capacity in Chile while reducing energy needs

By Stephen Daniells contact

- Last updated on GMT

© RuudMorijn / Getty Images
© RuudMorijn / Getty Images

Related tags: Prebiotic, Inulin, oligofructose, Beneo, chicory root fiber

Functional ingredients manufacturer Beneo has spent €90 million to expand its Pemuco, Chile production plant, increasing its prebiotic chicory root fibers capacity by 30%. The investment also reducing specific energy consumption by 35%.

The positive effects of chicory root fibers (inulin and oligofructose) on bifidobacteria abundance in gut microbiota and on bowel function parameters have recently been demonstrated by a new systematic literature review with meta-analyses​, considered the strongest methodology in the hierarchy of scientific evidence. 

Global consumer interest in prebiotics increased from 51% to 61% between 2018 and 2022, according to the company. In response to the rising demand, Beneo is planning to open a new refinery line in Pemuco, Chile, by the end of this year, leading to a 15% increase in its total chicory root fiber capacity.

An additional 15% increase is due to be completed by next spring, resulting in a total increase in capacity of 30%.

The capacity increase also included an analysis of the entire production process in Pemuco to identify any areas where energy efficiency could be improved. Based on these findings, the company has upgraded existing processing equipment and invested in new technology, such as new evaporation systems, which will not only reduce the energy required but also ensures that the energy is used in the most efficient way possible.

This investment into new technology also allows for improved process continuation as it means equipment can be cleaned without interruption of the overall process, which in turn results in further significant energy savings, according to a release from Beneo.

“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 in Chile.

“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 fiber plant in Pemuco is an important milestone for us.”

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