WESTCHESTER, ILL. — Ingredion, Inc. has evolved over the past five years by investing in areas such as plant-based protein and stevia-based sweeteners. Future growth could come from Europe, South America and Asia geographically and flavors categorically.
“We want to diversify beyond North America,” said James P. Zallie, President and CEO, at the company’s Investor Day on June 2. “We have a great position in Mexico. We have a good position in Canada, and we have a strong position in the United States, but we would like to develop more in Asia-Pacific.
“Our plant protein platform, for example, we have the investments that we have made in Canada and now in Nebraska, but we would like to be able to expand our plant proteins, our capabilities and our investments in Europe, South America and Asia. We see opportunities. The vision we have for plant-based protein is that it will be a long-term, sustainable trend and an important category that will have global reach, and we are actively considering mergers and acquisitions for us. expand globally.
Investing in flavors could benefit the plant protein and sugar reduction categories, he said.
“So just being a stevia supplier potentially limits value capture by offering a holistic sugar reduction solution,” Zallie said. “So we recognize that, and those two areas, I think we have the right to win with the right bolting capabilities.”
Over the past five years, Westchester-based Ingredion has invested $250 million in plant-based protein and acquired 75% of PureCircle, Inc., a supplier of stevia-based sweeteners.
“When you consider who we were four or five years ago and who we are today, we were a starch supplier and a caloric sweetener supplier,” Zallie said. “So when a company was developing a new product, they were probably thinking about our ingredients later in the formulation process, not necessarily in advance as part of the briefing to affect differentiation on the label, on a claim on the front of the package.”
He gave plant-based alternatives to ice cream as an example.
“At the time, we could probably supply the corn syrup that went into the ice cream,” Zallie said. “We couldn’t provide the improvement in mouthfeel. We could not provide ice crystal stabilization. We could not supply the plant-based dairy protein. We couldn’t supply the high intensity natural sweetener.
This scenario is no longer the case.
“So we’re no longer viewed as a passive afterthought by customers,” Zallie said. “We are considered from the start to enable a new value proposition that they wish to present to their consumer. This is what happens in stevia. It happens herbal. It happens in the texture. This happens in clean label. They come to us because they have a concept, and we co-create and that’s how we create value for customers.
Zallie added that the company was looking at its carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions.
“So we’re partnering with a company right now to validate and certify our ingredients,” he said.