Saxony-Anhalt’s strength in starch

Export hit for the international markets: Cargill invests further in Saxony-Anhalt

One of the best grain production areas in Germany is in Saxony-Anhalt: with its wide wheat fields, the Magdeburger Börde offers a clear location advantage for the food industry. The American family company Cargill recognised the advantages when it took over the wheat starch factory of Cerestar in Barby in 2002. Incidentally, the building of this factory 25 years ago was the first large investment in the new federal states at the time. With the latest investment of around EUR 60 million in a production site for premium alcohol, which was officially inaugurated in June 2016, Cargill highlights the importance of the location.

The family company Cargill was founded in America 150 years ago. Today, it employs around 150,000 staff in 70 countries. The 13 German locations also include two in the German federal state of Saxony-Anhalt – Barby near Saxony-Anhalt’s capital Magdeburg and Aschersleben, about 50 kilometres away. The aim of the company is to ensure the availability of nutritious and affordable food in the long term. A mission which can only be fulfilled through global networking, environmentally friendly action and responsible strategies. The globalisation of the markets, particularly the food and feedstuffs industry, holds equal chances and risks. Because, in order to ensure the necessary quality and quantity in the long term, both environmental protection and strengthening and supporting local suppliers are very important. Therefore, at Cargill, the motto “think global, act local“ is very significant, which is also noticeable in Saxony-Anhalt.

The products of the wheat starch factory and the alcohol production from Barby are used nationwide in Germany and throughout Europe in many sectors, and accompany everyday life: for example, syrups containing fructose support the fruity taste in jams, wheat gluten as a vegetable protein ensures that bread and bread buns have a loose crumb, and premium alcohol is used to manufacture spirits, flavourings and perfumes, right up to disinfectants and printing dyes.

The consistently cooperative collaboration with community and state encouraged Cargill to further invest in Saxony-Anhalt. So, in 2005, the chocolate factory in Aschersleben was taken over. Industrial chocolate is produced here, which is used as chocolate sprinkles on muffins or as chocolate sticks in croissants, amongst other things. Cargill employs over 220 staff in Saxony-Anhalt, and is an important part of the leading market of nutrition and agriculture, the highest turnover sector in the state. “The factory in Barby is a long established site with state of the art technology, and is in a peak position in the European starch market, and not just for Cargill. We see both factories as being very competitive in every regard”, says Ludger te Laak, Cargill boss for Germany.

The sites are an important part of the global strategies of Cargill. In this way, due to direct contact with local agriculture, the quality of the raw materials used, particularly in Barby, can be ensured in the long term. The proximity to science and research in the areas of crop cultivation, energy and mechanical and plant engineering provides practically oriented knowledge transfer for in-house developments. And not least, the family company is always about the people. Due to a higher quality of life at the Cargill sites, the performance and satisfaction of the employees is also increased, which benefits the success of the company.

Local commitment, a good neighbourhood and partner like interaction are therefore part of the company philosophy. Equally, quick and unbureaucratic help for the neighbourhood and affected employees, for example during the Elbe flood in 2013. “The globalisation of the markets can only be successful in the long term, if the necessary requirements are achieved locally”, says Ludger te Laak. “Cargill is a worldwide company, and practises the traditions of a family company. This makes it something special.“

Author: Miriam Fuchs