CARGILL HAS unveiled plans to build a new plant capable of turning 750,000t of wheat a year into food sweeteners at its Cerestar site in Manchester.
When it is completed at the start of 2007, the $50m (£29m) factory will be the US food giant’s flagship European sweetener plant, turning out product for export throughout the world.
It is part of the company’s strategy to convert its UK sweetener production from maize to wheat, which it views as a cheaper raw material.
The move goes hand-in-hand with a wider restructuring of the company’s UK operations, which will see starch and dextrose production transferred from Manchester to eastern Europe.
Mark Aitchison, managing director of Cargill and Allied Grain’s 50-50 joint venture Frontier, said: “A new market for 0.75m tonnes of wheat into the food industry is exactly what we’ve wanted for farmers.
“Frontier will be a major partner supplier for Cerestar once the plant is built. That means wheat planted this autumn and harvested in 2006 will be delivered to the new factory.”