KMC Continuous to Find Opportunities in The Potato
KMC is a world leading producer of potato-based ingredients used for foods and other applications. From their headquarters in Brande in Central Jutland, they produce potato starch to food products, which include cheese, pastry, meat alternatives, pasta, and confectionery.
A unique crop with numerous applications
The potato is a functional and CO2-friendly crop with favorable growth conditions in Denmark. In Denmark we have a long tradition for potato growing due to optimal weather conditions. A large water supply is a necessity to ensure high yield and good quality of the raw materials. Given that the food culture has changed over the past years, the growing of potatoes has been with the purpose of producing potatoes with a high starch content used for potato flour.
At KMC the potato is processed to potato protein and starch, which can be used in various cheese applications, confectionery, and emulsions. The bi product is potato pulp, which is used as a feed ingredient to ruminants. Potato protein is a complete protein, containing all the essential amino acids, which contribute to its high nutritional value and make it a suitable ingredient in meat alternatives. As an ingredient, the potato starch is unique due to its neutral taste properties and white appearance, making it useful in a wide range of foods without causing off-taste and discoloration. Within the cheese segment, KMC produces modified potato starch that can be implemented as an ingredient in cheese alternatives used for pizza cheese, white cheese, spreadable cheese, and hard cheese. All with customized functionalities, meltability and structure.
In addition, KMC produces potato starch applicable for sugar confectionery, used in the production of gummies, liquorice, pastilles, and chewy candy. The aim is to develop products with a desirable texture and taste. By using potato as raw material, KMC produces starch for application in cheese products and confectionery, which thereby live up to plant based, gluten-free and non-allergenic designations. This makes it possible to address a wide customer and consumer segment.
KMC delivers tailor made solutions to customers and partners all over the world
KMC operates on a global scale and exports more than 90% of their total production to more than 80 countries. With the business philosophy ‘A great place to work’ KMC delivers potato-based starches and proteins, which in the long term can replace animal-based food components. Flexibility and transparency/openness are important business strategies, which drive the company’s collaboration with international partners and customers. The costumers’ different perceptions of texture, taste or color are highly dependent on customer requirements, cultural traditions, and geographical origin.
"KMC considers their interests by producing potato starches with different functionalities tailored to the customer requirements", says application specialist Mia R Jalum, who works with product applications in relation to confectionery.
KMC glance towards the global market when new products are developed. By participating in international conferences, collaborating with business partners and customers and being in close contact with universities, the company keeps abreast of new developments and tends on the market.
According to senior application specialist Line Bach Christensen, KMC manages to deliver solutions to customers that are based on high technological know-how and scientific product knowledge. At KMC they know about the molecular and structural properties of the crop including which process parameters they must change in order to create desirable textures in the final products. This specialist expertise is a position of strength and is prioritized as an important operational strategy, when the company develops new products or supports costumers all over the world.
The potato can play an important role in the green transition plan
With new market and consumer trends in the field of plant-based food products, in which sustainability and green transition initiatives are prioritized, KMC sees great market potentials in future. New generations show obligingness in relation to plant-based food alternatives, which contributes to the green transition. Curiosity, healthy food choices and transparency are trends that characterizes the actual consumptions patterns. In a long-term perspective, KMC can contribute to the transition by delivering a broad assortment of potato starch and potato fibers.
KMC aims at developing products within an independent product segment, in which they contribute to the production of meat and milk alternatives that are not directly comparable to animal produced food products.
“Potato starch can never achieve the exact same properties as gelatin or milk, but we can get incredible close and develop products that have a comparable structure. A new frame of references is therefore necessary. We need to take distance to an animal-based frame of references and instead refer to plant-based food products. However, this development requires that a broad variety of products are present on the market.” States senior application specialist Line Bach Christensen.
“KMC rides on this wave and are looking into a future, in which plant-based food products are gaining footholds on the market.” Adds Mia R. Jalum.
Latest product development
The latest acquisition is the development of a textured potato protein that can implemented as a meat replacement in plant-based food products. KMC are the first company in the world, who has managed to convert a powder ingredient into a product with meat-like structure. The textured potato protein is produced by using an extrusion technology, in which the protein is converted into fiber-looking structures using high temperature and pressure. With this innovation, KMC has moved one step closer towards a food industry, which prioritizes plant-based alternatives to a greater extent. The textured potato protein contributes with a meat-like structure, which gives a mild taste and a good frying crust. In addition, the high nutritional value is preserved in the products. The potato protein has therefore a great potential as a meat supplement in future and the company are expecting a large product upscaling in the years to come.