Franck Monmont, regional director,
Cargill Texturising Solutions
Starches are an essential ingredient in various applications, spanning from bakery, salad dressings and sauces, to dairy products and snacks. Providing many benefits such as improved texture stability, creaminess, heat tolerance and more, the right starches can help offer better processing flexibility for manufacturers and an enhanced sensory experience for end-consumers.
Cargill, a provider of food, agricultural and industrial products, has recently invested in a number of projects in Asia with their starch offerings. Mr Monmont explains the rationale behind the company’s strategic investment.
Please give our readers a brief introduction to Cargill.
Cargill was founded in 1865 and operates globally in 70 countries, drawing together the worlds of food, agriculture, nutrition and risk management.
For more than 150 years, we have helped farmers grow more, and connected them to broader markets. We are continuously developing products that give consumers just what they’re seeking: advancing nutrition, food safety and sustainability. And we help all of our partners innovate and manage risk, so they can nourish the world again tomorrow.
In Asia Pacific, we operate in 17 countries across about 250 locations, and are headquartered in Singapore.
Cargill’s focus is on helping our customers and consumers thrive. We pride ourselves in our ability to connect expertise around the world, serving customers in agriculture, industrial and food industries.
What food ingredients does Cargill offer?
Cargill supplies a broad portfolio of high quality food ingredients, solutions and services for customers in the food and drinks industry. Our core and specialty ingredients include cocoa, fat & oils, corn, malts, specialty starches, lecithin, texturisers, nutraceuticals, etc.
In Asia, our key priority is to help fulfil the needs of our customers through the delivery of our broad specialty ingredient portfolio, state-of-the-art application capabilities, as well as customer-centric solutions and services.
Our offering extends from ideation through to launch, and we are constantly creating new breakthrough products that help enhance existing ones—this strategy has been instrumental in helping to bring us even closer to our customers as we anticipate and exceed their needs and expectations.
We have developed and tailored a wide range of starches from corn, waxy corn, potato and wheat to meet consumer needs, and customise their different functionalities for our various customers in the food and drinks industry.
We produce a range of specialty starches (physical and chemical), including oxidised starch, acid thinned starch, acetylated distarch phosphate and distarch phosphate; as well as starch ester, starch ether, emulsifying starch, cold water swollen starch and roll-dried.
Compared to native starch, modified starch improves the functionalities of shear resistance, heat resistance, acid resistance, freeze/thaw stability, as well as shelf-life stability. Industrial applications for these modified starches include use in foods as thickeners, emulsifiers, gelling agents, binders, bulking agents, and processing aids.
How can manufacturers use these starches?
The main application of modified starch is in dairy, convenience food, bakeries, snack and convenience foods, processed meats, confectionery, flavour emulsion and encapsulations—just to name a few. Modified starches are also able to deliver different textures to these foods, depending on individual customer needs.
Here are some specific applications for modified starches:
- (1) Dairy foods: Cost reduction, fat removal, and texture improvement.
- (2) Convenience foods: Improve stability in soups, add viscosity/new textures to sauces, improve crispness, bite or crunch in coatings, and manage moisture in ready-to-eat meals or simplify food ingredient labels.
- (3) Confectionery: Reduce costs, remove less consumer-friendly ingredients, improve textures, and improve processing outputs.
- (4) Processed meats: Enhance succulence, improve product quality when frozen, shorten cooking time, decrease fat loss, and improve meaty texture.
- (5) Baked goods: Improve texture to make foods more crispy or crunchy, create novel textures, manage moisture over shelf-life, and improve adhesion or texturising coatings.
- (6) Encapsulation: Improve nutritional appeal and deliver greater indulgent textures by protecting the flavours, colours, nutrients and active ingredients from degrading during processing. It helps products retain the taste and appearance over time, across a wide range of storage conditions.
Are there any challenges to using these products?
Cargill has a wide range of modified starches that can be used in different applications and processes. We are constantly at the forefront of innovation and have been working hand in hand with our customers to develop tailored solutions to meet their consumer needs.
One of the key challenges the food and beverage industry will face in the near future is the ability to respond adequately to the increasingly demanding needs of customers. Research shows that by 2050, the population over 60 years old is expected to nearly double. This means that companies like Cargill must act now, and start investing in assets and solutions that will cater to this unique consumer group with special nutritional needs.
There is also increased expectation of the food industry to help people cope with health issues such as obesity and food allergies. We must and have been working with our partners to develop products that can respond to these changing consumer preferences.
Changing consumer preferences and consumption patterns also mean that the world no longer defines value by cost savings anymore.
We are starting to see customers everywhere becoming increasingly driven by purpose: the drive to make more purposeful choices with their buying power, and the desire to feel more connected to the foods they consume. Therefore, they are upping the ante and expecting brands and companies like Cargill to provide more transparency in aspects of food safety, sustainability, food security, agricultural practices and trade.
In creating an integrated supply chain and providing an increasingly diversified portfolio (including our clean label starches), we believe that Cargill is on trend and ready to remain relevant and distinctive in our approach to meeting our customers’ aspirations.
Why has Cargill chosen to invest in Asia?
With “Nourishing the World” at the core of our global strategy, Asia is clearly the engine of growth and a very important pillar in our overall Food Ingredient strategy.
With 4.5 billion people, continuous sustained growth and changing consumer trends, Asia presents huge opportunities for our specialty ingredients. Changing consumer behaviours and needs mandate that Cargill must continue to innovate and invest in developing customised solutions for our customers and partners in order to help them succeed and thrive.
To this end, Cargill continues to strive towards being the highest quality starches provider. Food manufacturers can expect Cargill to continue to be their partner of choice, as we tap into our vast global network and our depth of resources—including state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities, local assets, integrated supply chain solutions as well as innovation and application centres—to support and partner our Asian customers, and to provide them with affordable, healthy and convenient products.
Our investment in creating a strong Asia-Pacific presence has been a key enabler of this strategy and is seeing many positive yields. This recent investment will also go far in helping Cargill tell our Asian story to our customers and consumers.