Cargill to spend more than $50 million on sustainable corn syrup plant


Cargill is spending $50 million to build a corn syrup refinery in Fort Dodge, Iowa, that will expand the company’s ability to meet the growing demand for the ingredient in a more sustainable way.

The facility, about 95 miles northwest of Des Moines, will be located on property where Cargill already has an operation. It will use energy-efficient technologies and processing methods. The refinery also will be powered by the MidAmerican Energy electrical grid, which is made up of more than 88% renewable sources. These factors combined will reduce CO2 emissions by close to 50% compared to typical corn syrup production methods, according to Cargill. 

“As the global population continues to grow, the demand for corn syrup continues to grow, especially given its important functional benefits in products ranging from infant formula to confection,” Mike Wagner, managing director for Cargill’s starches, sweeteners and texturizers business in North America, said in a statement.

The new plant will supply corn syrup to customers globally when fully operational, with initial shipments expected to begin by mid-2024.

Cargill, citing competitive reasons, declined to say how much corn syrup the new facility will produce, or the quantity currently made by the company. The agribusiness giant has four mills in North America that produce corn syrup.

Although some manufacturers have been reformulating products with sugar, corn syrup remains a leading ingredient in everything from baked foods and jams to desserts and candies. 

The demand for high fructose corn syrup is particularly high in the food and beverage industry because it has several characteristics such as higher solubility and resistance to crystallization in all conditions, according to a report published by Allied Market Research. The report estimated the global corn syrup market industry will generate $13.5 billion by 2031 compared to $9.8 billion last year.

The move to build new or refurbish existing facilities reflects a broader trend throughout the food and beverage industry, as companies ready themselves to meet future demand. 

Cargill announced plans in May to build a new soybean processing facility in Missouri to support the growing demand for oilseeds used in food, animal feed and fuel markets. Puris retrofitted an old dairy plant in Minnesota that more than doubled its production capacity for pea protein, while Ferrero North America broke ground on a new chocolate processing facility in Illinois. 

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