June 20th 2017
Tate & Lyle celebrates 150 year anniversary of Koog, the plant that revolutionised the starch production industry.
This year marks the 150-year anniversary of Tate & Lyle’s oldest starch production facility, known as “Koog”, located along the Dutch River Zaan. Continuously looking to make the next steps toward meeting market demands for specialty food ingredients, Tate & Lyle is currently expanding Koog with an eye on further ramping up production of its clean label solutions, and these added facilities are slated to be completed before the end of the year.
The plant has traditionally been an important part of the local community’s development in terms of production and export, bringing jobs, innovation and investments into the area. The facility began producing starch in 1867 and has been expanded over the years with numerous investments to establish new product lines, with the most recent additions mainly targeting consumer demands for clean label, high fiber content and sugar reduction.
“You can clearly see a shift to clean label and sugar reduction in terms of consumer preferences. And we see these two aspects at our site,” says Paul Clarijs, Koog Plant Manager.
Prompted by consumer demand for clean label solutions, the facility began production of Claria Functional Clean Label Starches in 2014, followed two years later by the production of Multivantage Syrup, a low sugar, low viscosity sweetener that can be used to reduce sugar content, while maintaining calorie levels in applications such as breakfast foods.
Recent ingredient innovation includes the Claria Bliss clean label starch product line, which delivers a whiter color than other functional clean label tapioca starches, is GM-free and can be labeled as “tapioca starch.”
“We are the only producer of Claria clean label starch. In addition, we also produce Claria Bliss, which doesn’t use corn as a source, but tapioca. We already launched that product and we can clearly see an expanding market for this,” Clarijs adds.
In 2010, Tate & Lyle commissioned a new Sta-Lite Polydextrose line, the first and only of its kind in Europe. Sta-Lite Polydextrose, a soluble fiber, is a premium, low-calorie bulking agent used to provide body and texture in reduced-calorie, no-added-sugar foods or beverages and/or fiber to a broad range of products including cereals, drinking yogurt/fermented beverages and biscuits. Promitor Soluble Fiber, a transparent premium fiber, has been produced at the facility since 2012 and is used in products such as energy and snack bars.
Speaking on the challenges of adjusting the plant to meet clean label specifications, Clarijs states that: “The major challenge for our plant is that we need to change our philosophy of producing in a way that we comply with new product introductions, so people need to adapt their way of working and be open to a changing environment, that’s the human aspect.”
Moreover, other aspects of particular importance are: “Good alignment with research, changing specifications, a lot of testing, and of course making sure the installations are ready.”
Located just 11km northwest of Amsterdam, the facility receives delivery of non-GMO corn by barge. It operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and spans an area of 25 acres, the equivalent of almost 19 football fields. Located near the Netherlands’ most densely populated areas, Koog’s expansion plans may seem surprising, yet Clarijs says that there are good explanations for the facility’s staying power.
“We source from Europe, as all our products are non-GMO. We have advantages in terms of getting it here, over water, and another advantage is our close proximity to Rotterdam Harbor,” Clarijs explains. “The education level is relatively high here; everyone here is capable of speaking English, and this goes all the way to operator level. So in terms of new product introductions, or having to deal with the research laboratories, language is not an issue.”
For a video interview featuring Paul Clarijs see: https://vimeo.com/222287265