BENEO reduces specific energy consumption while increasing production capacity of chicory root fibres

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%, thanks to a €90 million investment into its production plant in Pemuco, Chile, it is reducing specific energy consumption by 35%.

As consumer awareness of digestive health, immunity, the gut microbiome and its beneficial effect on overall wellbeing continues to grow, so does the demand for BENEO’s prebiotic and natural chicory root fibres – ‘Orafti’ inulin and oligofructose. Alongside this is the importance sustainable energy use. 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%.

At its Pemuco plant in Chile, BENEO conducted an analysis of the whole production process to identify areas where energy efficiency could be improved. Based on these findings, it has upgraded its existing processing equipment and invested in new technology, such as new evaporation systems, which not only reduces the energy required, but also ensures energy is used efficiently. This investment allows for improved process continuation, as it means equipment can be cleaned without interruption of the overall process, which in turn results in further 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. The 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 seen an increase from 51% in 2018 to 61% in 2022. To cater for this rising demand, BENEO will open a new refinery line in Pemuco, Chile, by the end of 2022, leading to a 15% increase of its total chicory root fibres capacity. This will be followed by an additional 15% increase due to be completed next spring.

Chicory root fibres (inulin and oligofructose) are the only plant-based prebiotics. 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.