The work entails installing two storage silos at Lamb Weston's potato processing site in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire to accommodate a range of potato co-products. They include white starch, grey starch, cooked chips, slivers, potato peel and mashed potato.
Jonathan Job, UK procurement manager at Soltens, told FoodProductionDaily.com work was already underway on the silos and he hoped it would be complete in the next six months.
White starch would go into the technical starch industry, while the remaining products would be distributed to farmers as animal feed.
He said the silos would benefit the entire co-products industry by increasing quality from the factory through to the end buyer. "Big potato processing sites produce quite a lot of starch and this can cause issues," he added. It often clogged up drains on sites, he said.
"We take it to our own processing site and can clean and upgrade it." It could then be used for multiple purposes such as paper making, glue production or even drilling muds for the oil industry.
"A lot of factories would load potato peel into a truck over two to three days," Job told this site. The silos would enable Lamb Weston to avoid the site congestion that would usually occur through that approach, he said.
'Cleaner, more efficient system'
"Installing the silos is beneficial for every part of the chain ... It means, for example, that Lamb Weston benefit from a cleaner, more efficient system of dealing with the by-products of their processing operations and the logistics involved in removing the product is significantly reduced.
"The silos are a very hygienic solution which means we benefit because the co-products don't need to be removed and processed before they can be sold on and the farmers benefit because the feed is fit for consumption straight from the factory - the silos ensure it is not contaminated in any way."
Job foresaw strong growth in co-products from the food industry in the next few years. "The co-products side is getting more and more important for food companies. There are always offcuts that don't quite make the grade. Instead of this being seen as waste it should be seen as another company product. We see this industry as one that is going to explode in the next 10-15 years."
The Soltens group purchased about 2.5 million tonnes of co-product in the last full year, said Job.