Agrana - Organic and sustainable: the starch truth

AGRANA - an outstanding manufacturer for speciality sugar, starch and fruit products, especially GMO-free, organic and clean-label starch products - makes a significant contribution to supplying sustainable food.

AGRANA's sugar and starch segments operate in Europe, while its fruit segment has a global presence. In these markets, AGRANA's goal is to be a leader in the industrial refining of agricultural raw materials. AGRANA was early to recognise the growing public awareness of sustainablity and health issues, as well as the related increase in demand for organic products. Organic starches and organic fruit preparations have been marketed by AGRANA for many years. This was followed by the launch of products based on organic beet sugar in 2008. The company now offers a range of independently certified organic products in all of its business segments.

Start at the beginning

As sustainability is an integral element of AGRANA's corporate philosophy, this commitment begins long before the industrial processing of agricultural raw materials - namely during their procurement.

In the EU-based starch segment, AGRANA mainly processes corn, wheat and potatoes into premium starch and starch-based products for the food processing industry and for technical applications. AGRANA's key focus lies on supplying ingredients made from premium-quality ingredients using environmentally sensitive methods. The need to ensure top quality and full traceability in the supply chain is also underpinned by AGRANA's certification in accordance with ISO 9001:2000 and the International Food Standard FSSC 22000.

For decades, AGRANA has held raw material supply with Austrian farmers. A continuous supply of organic raw materials such as corn, waxy corn and certified GMO-free corn is ensured by holding such contracts with a large number of organic farmers.

At its potato starch mill in Gmünd, Lower Austria, AGRANA also processes food potatoes (organic and non-organic) to make purée and dough-based products. These potatoes are sourced under growing contracts as well. Modern production processes and many years of experience are essential to guaranteeing the extensive, top-quality product range that AGRANA distributes worldwide.

Presently, the use of input materials in the AGRANA Group is 98.6-99.9%. This very high utilisation is made possible by AGRANA's extremely efficient use of agricultural raw materials, driven by its powers of technological innovation and product development capabilities. It clearly does justice to a high standard of financial, environmental and social responsibility.

Sustainability through innovation

One example is with the wheat starch factory commissioned in June 2013 on the site of the bioethanol plant in Pischelsdorf, Austria. AGRANA has expanded its product portfolio from corn and potato starch to wheat starch. Locating the facility directly adjacent to the bioethanol plant permits an important further advance in resource efficiency. Through the close integration of the two plants, 100% of the grain is used. This is AGRANA's zero-waste principle and the drive for the most efficient use of raw materials in action, which signifies AGRANA's technological innovation and product development capabilities.

Such capabilities have seen the addition of many innovative products to AGRANA's portfolio. QuemLite Bio, for example, an organic pregelatinised corn starch with high water-binding capabilities, ideal particle size and increased viscosity, is especially suitable for emulsions. QuemLite Bio improves texture and mouthfeel, and is therefore perfect to produce fat-reduced mayonnaise, sauces and dressings that may be labelled as 'light' products, with a fat-reduction up to 70%.

The recently developed organic cook-up waxy corn starch, AgenaLite Bio, is perfect for fat-reduced sweet-bread spread such as coconut or hazelnut cream. The formulation does not use palm oil, and the consequent fat-reduction, up to 70%, means you still can achieve a texture similar to lard. Meanwhile, the brand new AgenaJell Bio offers the possibility to formulate organic jellies without gelatin and thus perfectly meets the rising demand for vegan food.

AGRANA is also able to meet specific customer requests. Continuous further developments and customer-specific adaptations are added extras for AGRANA's product portfolio. The AGRANA Research and Innovation Centre (ARIC), the central R&D facility of the AGRANA Group, focuses on food innovations for clean label, nutritional physiology, sweeteners and flavourings. ARIC evaluates the efficacy of positioning different ingredients in reformulation.

A very well-equipped technical centre enables the use of important technology, such as extrusion, separation, evaporation, drying, starch production and many more, on a pilot scale of 1-2,000kg. The close collaboration of the three AGRANA segments - sugar, starch, fruit - results in synergies that are harnessed for AGRANA's customers.

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