You might say that Tate & Lyle Americas is the secret ingredient to PepsiCo and Coca-Cola's success. The company, an affiliate of UK ingredient giant Tate & Lyle, is one of a handful of producers that make high-fructose corn syrup -- the liquid sweetener used by virtually all soft-drink manufacturers in the world. Offering hundreds of nutritive sweeteners and industrial starches, the company is one of the largest corn refiners in the US. In addition to corn syrup, Tate & Lyle Americas manufactures sweeteners (including sucralose, the main ingredient in SPLENDA), acidulants, and animal-feed. The company also partners with bio-based materials businesses to produce such renewable products as farnesene, or Biofene.
The parent company's strategy for growth involves diversifying its portfolio of low-cost commodity base ingredients toward more value-added products. Tate & Lyle Americas boasts the company's largest corn processing plant on 430 acres in Illinois, surrounded by several supporting grain operations. The facility offers a prime opportunity to leverage the bulk ingredients business' expertise in commercial sugarcane fermentation for a range of green products.
Interest from development-stage enterprises is picking up. In spring 2011 Tate & Lyle Americas inked a manufacturing deal with Genomatica to set aside a demonstration-scale production plant for expanding the Bio-butanediol (Bio-BDO) process. Bio-BDO, a petroleum alternative, is used in spandex, urethane foams, and thermoplastics. Tate & Lyle America a few months earlier, contracted with Amyris, another renewable products developer, to produce farnesene. Amyris will sell the farnesene directly for industrial applications or apply a finishing step to form a variety of other sustainable alternatives to petroleum-based ingredients.
Concurrently, Tate & Lyle Americas has taken another step away from the bulk ingredients business by selling off certain operations. In mid-2011 it completed the sale of its Fort Dodge, Iowa, corn wet mill ethanol facility to food and industrial products giant Cargill for approximately $57.6 million.
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