ZWIJNDRECHT, 4 November 2009 - Unimills, leading supplier of vegetable oil based ingredients for the food industry and the European subsidiary of world’s largest palm oil originator Sime Darby, announced today that it has acquired a lecithin production facility, previously owned by IOI Loders Croklaan.
The facility is located on the Unimills premises. All operations and staff will be fully integrated with the Unimills organisation.
The lecithin team processes and packages lecithin both from soy and sunflower seeds, which is then sold worldwide to leading food companies. Terms of the investment were not disclosed.
Unimills acquired both the production and modification processes of lecithin, thus expanding its portfolio of vegetable oil based ingredients for the food industry.
Lecithin, a natural food ingredient isolated from vegetable crops such as soy and sunflower seeds, is used in several food applications such as margarines, confectionery products and animal feed.
In margarines, lecithin enhances smooth oil-in-water emulsions and prevents spattering during shallow frying. In chocolate applications, lecithins are used to tailor viscosity during manufacturing. In animal feed, it is used for its beneficial nutritional properties.
The lecithin facility offers a broad portfolio of native, fractionated and enzyme modified soy and sunflower lecithin for the European food industry.
“We are very pleased with this acquisition as it broadens our current product portfolio of natural vegetable based oil ingredients,” said Alexander van der Klauw, Managing Director of Unimills Europe.
“Already, Unimills is the market leader for the production of hardstocks for margarines in Europe. This acquisition strengthens our leading market position in functional ingredients for margarine manufacturing.
The step fully supports our strategy to expand our offering of innovative and specialized food ingredients, tailored to customer needs.”
Parent company Sime Darby invests 2-3% of its plantation turnover annually in R&D through its five R&D Centres and three customer-focused Innovation Centres around the world.
The main focus of its R&D activities is to enhance productivity, develop innovative food ingredients and explore new opportunities in the agribusiness sector.
Now with the acquisition of the facility, lecithin applications will be part of the European Innovation Centre’s progressive portfolio.
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