A spokesperson for Agrana told BakeryandSnacks.com that the introduction of wheat gluten to its portfolio will allow the company to help meet increasing demand for protein.
The factory is set to produce 23,500 tonnes of wheat starch to be used in bakery and pet food products.
The unit will also turn out 107,000 tonnes of wheat starch and 55,000 tonnes of wheat bran which will cater mainly for the European market.
Up until now the firm has specialised in the production of corn and potato starches. Agrana claims to be the primary sugar company in Central and Eastern Europe and the leading supplier of specialised starch products in Europe.
The investment will also provide another first for the company, allowing it to turn unused raw material constituents from the wheat gluten and starch it produces into biogenic fuel.
The spokesperson said that the location of the site - at the company’s bioethanol plant in Pischelsdorf, Austria - was chosen in order to use synergies with the existing bioethanol plant.
“This new plant is therefore an additional step in the direction of the optimal and sustainable processing/use of agrarian raw materials,” she said.
“As issues like sustainable raw material use and carbon-footprint become more and more important (also for our customers in the food processing industry), we think that this co-production will be appreciated by our customers,” added the spokesperson.
According to the environmental impact assessment of its Pischelsdorf site, Agrana Bioethanol GmbH, the total of 620,000 tonnes of cereals that can be produced (mostly wheat and corn) will produce up to 240,000 m³ of bioethanol.
“This multi-phase processing of agricultural raw materials is an example of how Agrana actually puts the underlying principle of closed-cycle economics into practice on a daily basis as far as is possible”, said Johann Marihart, CEO of Agrana Beteiligungs-AG.
In addition to its eco credentails, the new factory will also increase the workforce at the Pischelsdorf site from 80 to 120 people. Operations should start by the end of 2013.