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Sugar giant Nordzucker invests in plant-based proteins – new plant will go into operation in 2026

November 27, 2023

One of the world’s leading sugar companies, Nordzucker, is continuing to grow and is expand its portfolio by investing more than €100 million in the production of plant-based proteins. Nordzucker will put a new plant into operation for this new business segment at its site in Groß Munzel, Lower Saxony, by mid-2026. The expansion will create around 60 additional jobs.

“Plant-based nutrition will play an increasingly important role in the future. The market is growing rapidly. With plant-based proteins, we see a great opportunity to participate in this future market,” said Lars Gorissen, CEO of Nordzucker. “We are supplementing our portfolio with a product that fits in well with our core competences and are thus consistently pursuing our growth strategy.” In view of changing eating habits and the trend towards meat, egg and milk substitutes, entering this new business segment is a step with very attractive prospects.

The Supervisory Board of Nordzucker AG supports the entry into the new business segment and the expansion of production capacity at the site in Groß Munzel. “The market has enormous potential, Nordzucker has the expertise and close links to growers. The Supervisory Board therefore sees excellent growth prospects and is convinced of the company’s investment,” emphasises Jochen Johannes Juister, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Nordzucker AG.

Nordzucker relies in particular on the yellow pea from regional cultivation for the production of plant-based proteins. It fulfils all the requirements for economical and sustainable production, explains Gorissen. “It can be grown in many regions and fits well into the crop rotations of farms.” Nordzucker can produce peas all year round due to their good shelf life.

The pea proteins are to be marketed as a concentrate and dry texturate for further processing in the food and animal feed industry. Texturates, for example, can be used in a variety of ways, serving as a source of protein and as a texturiser in plant-based foods. “We will produce and sell pea proteins as an ingredient for further processing,” says Alexander Godow, Chief Operating Officer. “Thanks to our roots in agriculture, we are able to reliably supply our customers with large quantities from regional and sustainable cultivation and in consistently good quality.” Products for end consumers are not planned.

Nordzucker is planning to invest more than 100 million Euro in the development of the new business segment. “We expect double-digit growth rates per year in the pea protein concentrates and texturates segment. That is why we are now also setting a fast pace in terms of implementation”, emphasized Chief Financial Officer Alexander Bott.

The choice of location plays an important role here. The construction of new production capacities in Groß Munzel is scheduled to begin in autumn 2024. “As this is a Nordzucker site, we benefit from the existing infrastructure,” stated Godow. The site has good transport links. This provides good access to raw materials from many arable farming regions and to sales markets. Commissioning is planned for mid-2026.

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