Riceland and Cargill form lecithin alliance

Riceland Foods Inc. and Cargill Inc. have announced their intentions to form a strategic alliance to manufacture, market and sell lecithin products to food, pharmaceutical and technical customers worldwide.

Under terms of the agreement, de-oiled lecithin produced by Riceland at its Stuttgart, Ark., facilities will be marketed and distributed by Cargill.

The agreement is expected to take effect by Sept. 1, 2003.

Riceland, a farmer-owned cooperative, has been a leading manufacturer of de-oiled lecithin for 25 years. It supplies high-quality powdered and granulated lecithin products globally.

Richard E. Bell, Riceland president and chief executive officer, said the alliance supports Riceland's position as a leading manufacturer and global supplier of high-quality, powered and granular lecithin products.

“The alliance will allow Riceland to operate its lecithin manufacturing facilities at more efficient rates,” Bell added. “Riceland has been handicapped during recent years by not having a source of non-GM crude lecithin for processing. This arrangement with Cargill is designed to alleviate that.”

Cargill Lecithin has a global sales organization and modern production facilities in Europe and South America. “The alliance with Riceland establishes Cargill as a lecithin supplier in North America,” said Jens Heiser, president of Cargill's lecithin product line.

R. Creager Simpson, president of Cargill's Food & Pharma Specialties North America, said, “This alliance is a major growth initiative for Cargill Lecithin and will foster innovation in the de-oiled lecithin market. It supports Cargill's ability to provide breakthrough solutions with new, value-added products such as identity-preserved, non-genetically modified de-oiled lecithin.”

Lecithin is derived from soybean processing. In its refined liquid form, it is used as a natural emulsifier.

The de-oiling process results in powdered and granular lecithin. Lecithin is used in a variety of foods as a blending agent, dough stabilizer, egg replacer and instantizing aid.

It is also an important ingredient in pharmaceuticals, dietary supplements and cosmetics.

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