MINEAPOLIS — Cargill on Sept. 8 opened its new pectin production facility, a $150 million investment, in Bebedouro, Brazil, that will expand the Minneapolis-based company’s ability to meet demand for the texturizing ingredient.

The new plant will produce HM (high methoxyl) pectin that may be used in jams, fruit-flavored beverages, acidic dairy drinks, yogurts, fruit preparations, confectionery items and personal care products. HM pectin works as a thickener and gelling agent, stabilizes proteins in acidic environments, and aids in the production of sugar-reduced beverages, according to Cargill.

“Demand for pectin is at an all-time high, fueled by global trends around sugar reduction and label-friendly formulation, as well as the popularity of fruit-flavored dairy drinks,” said Laerte Moraes, managing director for Cargill's starches, sweeteners and texturizers business in South America. “Adding a fourth pectin production facility to our supply network further secures our position as a reliable supplier of this sought-after ingredient.”

Cargill operates other pectin facilities in France, Germany and Italy.

The proximity of the Brazilian plant to Cargill’s citrus suppliers helps minimize carbon dioxide emissions from raw material transport. Cargill also will support regenerative agriculture practices, and thermal energy generated from biomass and biogas powers the plant.

 “This new plant is the latest example of how Cargill is working to lower our environmental impact across operations,” Mr. Moraes said. “Within the last five years, we’ve reduced the energy consumption of our European plants by 20%. Our Bebedouro plant will continue that commitment, using advanced technology to minimize our carbon footprint.”