Ingredion expands starch capabilities with new acquisition

By Mary Ellen Shoup

- Last updated on GMT

©GettyImages / Goldfinch4ever
©GettyImages / Goldfinch4ever

Related tags Ingredion Starch

Ingredion has acquired privately-held potato starch producer Western Polymer in Washington state, expanding the company's potato starch manufacturing capacity and processing capabilities.

Founded in 1952, Western Polymer produces native and modified potato starches for food and industrial applications and also sells modified tapioca starch for industrial applications. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. 

"This acquisition expands our higher-value specialty ingredients business, which is central to Ingredion's growth strategy," ​said Jim Zallie,​ Ingredion president and CEO. 

"This next phase of growth is consistent with other actions we've taken to strengthen our specialties business and deliver long-term value for our shareholders." 

With net sales of more than $6bn (over half of which came from its North America business) in 2018, Ingredion has been investing heavily in its portfolio and R&D capabilities in recent years including investing 3% of its 2017 revenues in R&D and hiring over 350 scientists worldwide. 

"We're excited to leverage the strengths of Western Polymer and Ingredion to continue developing high-quality ingredients that align with consumer trends and customers' needs,"​ added Lynn Townsend-White, president and CEO of Western Polymer. "By coming together now, this enables even greater reach for our ingredients and positions the business for continued growth."

Potato starch meets clean label perceptions

According to Ingredion, its non-GMO, gluten-free, potato starch products​ provide multiple functional benefits in food applications including fiber enrichment, serving as a vegan replacement for gelatin and an affordable replacement to egg that enhances the moistness and appearance of bakery items, as well as a phosphate replacement. Its low protein and fat lipid content means potato starch has minimal impact on flavor in formulation, according to the company. 

Because potato starch can be produced using the whole potato (including trimmings) it can give food marketers a strong sustainability message, added Ingredion.

The ingredient supplier's recent consumer proprietary research​ revealed that as far as texturizing ingredients go, consumers are much more accepting of plant-based starches (e.g. potato, tapioca, and corn starches) than gums and hydrocolloids that are harder to pronounce (carrageenan and xanthan gum).

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