ADM expands sweetener manufacturing in Europe: ‘End of the sugar regime’

'There will be substantial opportunities in the new European sweetener market' ©iStock

Global ingredient producer ADM is pushing harder into the European starch and sweetener market, announcing the acquisition of major production facilities in Turkey and Bulgaria on Monday in the wake of changing EU sugar laws.

The Chicago based manufacturer expanded the capacity of two corn wet mills in Adana, Turkey and Razgrad, Bulgaria to its 280 plants worldwide. A 50% stake in a Hungarian plant was also purchased.

This follows acquisition of similar facilities in Casablanca, Morocco in June this year.

Pierre Duprat, president of ADM Europe, Middle East and Africa told us: “With the end of the sugar regime in the EU, the artificial cap on cereal-based sweeteners will be lifted. There will be substantial opportunities in the new European sweetener market, including a particularly strong opening in Eastern Europe where there is less sugar production.”

Sour news for the sugar market

As various forms of tax are levelled against sugary foods and drinks in Europe, starch based sweetener alternatives have been handed an opening.

Spain, Portugal, France and the UK have all announced plans or already begun enforcing levies against products with elevated sugar content.

Debate surrounding the effectiveness and fairness of such policies rages on, but in the eyes of many the sugar industry is already damaged.

The closure of a major research body investigating sugar and health issues last month was seen by some as confirmation that - to paraphrase one food policy expert - the battle for hearts and minds has been lost, and the fight will not be won by rational argument.

ADM are looking to capitalise on this decline; building on major corn mills surrounding and within the EU will secure control of the supply of starch based sweeteners such as fructose.

Duprat would not reveal financial details of the expansions, but said: “We are ensuring that we will be able to offer our customers an expanded range of sweeteners and starches as sugar production quotas in the EU expire”.

Completion of the facilities is expected for the first half of 2018.

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