BENEO, one of the leading manufacturers of functional ingredients, is demonstrating how supply security and sustainability can go hand in hand. While increasing global capacity for its prebiotic chicory root fibres by 30 percent, thanks to a 90 million Euro investment into its production plant in Pemuco, Chile, it is reducing specific energy consumption by 35 percent at the same time.
As consumer awareness of digestive health, immunity, the gut microbiome, and its beneficial effect on overall well-being continue to grow, so does the demand for BENEO’s prebiotic and natural chicory root fibres. Alongside this, present times demonstrate the rising importance of saving energy today and for future generations. To deliver a secure supply of chicory root fibre while also keeping sustainability top of mind, BENEO’s capacity increase is accompanied by steps that allow it to reduce specific energy consumption by 35 percent.
At its Pemuco plant in Chile, BENEO analyzed the whole production process to identify areas where they could improve energy efficiency. Based on these findings, it has upgraded existing processing equipment and invested in new technology, such as new evaporation systems, which reduce the energy required and ensure 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, resulting in further significant energy savings.
Guillermo Fernandez, Head of Manufacturing at BENEO in Chile, comments:
“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. 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 fibre plant in Pemuco is an important milestone for us.”
Globally, consumer interest in prebiotics continues to grow and has already increased from 51 percent in 2018 to 61 percent in 2022. To cater to this rising demand, BENEO will open a new refinery line in Pemuco, Chile, by the end of this year, leading to a 15 percent increase in its total chicory root fibres capacity. This will be followed by an additional 15 percent increase due to be completed next spring, resulting in a total increase of 30 percent. While ensuring a secure supply of chicory root fibres, sustainability is kept top of mind for BENEO as it aims to reduce its overall CO2 emissions further.
Chicory root fibres (inulin and oligofructose) are the only plant-based prebiotics. According to the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP), they belong to very few proven prebiotics. The positive effects of chicory root fibres 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. BENEO’s prebiotic fibres Orafti® Inulin and Oligofructose are natural, non-GMO and clean label, and can be used in a wide range of food and drink applications.