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CEO Dialogue: Cargill leverages expertise to expand in bio-based solutions market

Source:Adsale Plastics Network Date :2023-04-17 Editor :VC
Copyright: 原创,请勿转载

In the era of smart production and sustainable development, new machinery, chemicals and materials are needed by manufacturers in the plastics and rubber industries. Leading technology providers thereby innovate and upgrade their products to meet the demands.

Rita Chu, Vice Chairman of Adsale Group, talked with Jonathan Huang, Commercial Manager of Polymer Additives at Cargill, about Cargill’s efforts to offer the market the latest innovations, and his views on the industry’s outlook.

Rita Chu,Vice Chairman of the Adsale Group

Rita Chu pursued her studies at Northwestern University in the US, as well as London School of Economics in the UK. A certified accountant, she joined the Adsale Group in 2010 and became the Vice Chairman of the Group in 2019.

Rita Chu_250.jpg

Jonathan Huang, Commercial Manager of Polymer Additives, Cargill

Jonathan Huang is Regional Commercial Lead for the Polymer Additives category within the Cargill Bioindustrial group with more than 10 years of experience in the polymers and coatings industry. His passion is to ensure the company and business see the importance of the APAC region with a sound regional business strategy in place and continued investments in people and resources.



Cargill, Incorporated (Booth: 17P01)

Cargill connects farmers with markets, customers with ingredients and families with daily essentials – from the foods they eat to the floors they walk on. The 155,000 team members around the world innovate with purpose, empowering partners and communities as the team works to nourish the world in a safe, responsible, sustainable way.


Acquisition accelerates growth ambition in bioindustrial


Chu: Cargill has acquired the majority of Croda’s Performance Technologies and Industrial Chemicals (PTIC) business. The acquisition greatly strengthened Cargill's bio-based portfolio. Why does the company have such ambition?


Huang: Cargill’s focus on bioindustrial is driven by a desire to pursue growth, using our expertise to enable success of our customers worldwide and our business. We recognize the increasing commercial and consumer demand for renewable and sustainable products, along with the regulatory need to eliminate toxic and unsafe products.


With the increasing viability of bio-based alternatives, CBI leverages more than 60 years’ experience in agriculture-based chemistry for industrial applications. This enables us to provide our customers with a more sustainable solution over fossil-based alternatives.


Chu: What advantages and benefits does Cargill gain from the acquisition? 


Huang: With this acquisition, Cargill gained nearly 750 employees around the world and production facilities spreading across Europe, along with a technology portfolio that supports strong positions in automotive, polymer and food packaging applications.


Aligning with Cargill’s commitment to sustainability, nearly 85 percent of the raw materials used to manufacture these solutions are bio-based and renewable. With strong global talent and a customer-driven culture, this business will amplify Cargill’s efforts to grow in bioindustrial. Combining Croda’s capabilities with Cargill’s track record of innovation provides tremendous growth possibilities for our bioindustrial customers and for our industrial business, a key segment of CBI and a focus of Cargill.


Bio-based solutions from Asia set to disrupt market


Chu: What is the biggest regional market for the bioindustrial business of Cargill?


Huang: Cargill Bioindustrial is truly a global business with presence in all major regions of the world, including high growth markets for bio-based solutions, such as Europe, the U.S. and Asia.

We see strong drivers for bio-based product lines across all our regions with Europe and North America being early adopters of the changing landscape of moving to more bio-based solutions, but in recent times, we have seen numerous innovations coming from Asia, which is set to disrupt the market.


Chu: How does the Asia Pacific market perform? Which countries in the region have higher growth potential?


Huang: The past year has seen the Asia Pacific market surpassing growth expectations. This is likely due to the increase in plastics use, as a result of the pandemic, in medical applications, but also as a result of activities due to lockdowns, when people spent more on appliances, electronics, and objects that made their staying at home more comfortable. We have seen growth coming from every country in Asia. China moving fast in green transition

China moving fast in green transition


Chu: China is seriously working on meeting its carbon peak and carbon neutrality goals. Please share your observations about the China market.


Huang: The country is determined to drive initiatives and implement regulations for the best interests of her citizens. The past years have shown the country paying serious attention to caring for the environment, making changes in managing pollution and the safety of polymer use.


Even though many initiatives are in its nascent stage, such as biodegradable polymers, mechanical and chemical recycling, I’m confident that China will be able to move quickly in these areas, leading globally in the implementation of these new developments.


Chu: Is China a main focus of Cargill’s development?


Huang: Definitely. China has always been a leading market for Cargill’s Polymer Additives business, and while it is important that we continue to thrive in China, we will also adapt and innovate for the China market.


Asia is a critical and strategic region for us. We remain committed and open to opportunities that will allow us to grow alongside our customers, and will continue to invest in capacity, innovation, talent, as well as sustainability.


Improving performance with sustainability presents big challenge


Chu: Sustainable development drives the plastics and other industries to leap forward. What are the visions and missions of Cargill in sustainability?


Huang: Cargill’s purpose is to nourish the world in a safe, responsible and sustainable way. We are focusing on areas where we believe our size and market presence can help make a significant impact.


Cargill’s plant in the UK.


Chu: As such, what are the opportunities and challenges for the company in the green transformation?


Huang: The opportunities and challenges are many. For our bio-based products we are finding that the technologies we have developed in food have multiple applications in replacing petrochemical derived ingredients. We continue to make efforts to measure the carbon footprint and other environmental factors to demonstrate the sustainability characteristics of our products and help our customers make the right choices to meet their sustainability goals.


There is a lot of opportunity to standardize methodologies to improve the consistency of calculation methodologies for both bio-based and petrochemical products, so as to enable transparent and fair comparisons.


Chu: What are the latest technology trends regarding bio-based solutions? What are the main bottlenecks for product R&D in this regard?   


Huang: Bio-based solutions are becoming increasingly recognised for their contribution in reducing product carbon footprints across the value chain. We see a growing need for products that meet or exceed the performance of the incumbent technology throughout the lifetime of the host polymer, and meet the required, yet challenging, sustainability criteria the customer, market, government, and consumer demand.


Such trends include additives that reduce processing temperatures or have better slip properties, thus adding further carbon saving benefits through superior product performance. Products that have better anti-scratch performance resulting in an improved look and increased lifetime of the part, or even improved safety by controlled static charge dissipation.


This increasing performance-sustainability need is our ultimate challenge, yet is ever more possible through the relentless innovation efforts of our entire organization, and the irreplaceable need to collaborate with our customers in tackling the challenge together.


Chu: What are the main concerns of customers when adopting bio-based solutions to replace conventional products?


Huang: Historically, in many applications, the use of bio-based solutions meant that customers had to sacrifice performance to gain a sustainability advantage. Technical developments over recent years resulted in the performance of bio-based solutions being equal to, if not higher than, that of the conventional products. We have invested significantly in developing high performing bio-based materials need to choose between sustainability and performance.


We have also invested heavily in our research and development facilities and people. We have one new facility in Hongqiao, Shanghai, to collaborate with our customers on various applications. Bio-based, sustainability and performance can all coexist in a single product.


Chu: What are the major challenges when further exploring the market?


Huang: It is clear that consumers and governments, through their legislative actions, want more sustainable solutions, which include increased bio-based levels across many products and industries. Products that meet these needs are becoming available. The biggest challenge is any remaining resistance to change.


Supply chain and availability of bio-based raw materials are also limitations we have seen in recent times. However, we are confident that as a “connector”, we can leverage on our extensive network and strong expertise in food and agriculture, being a leading partner for our customers in the area of polymer additives.


Revealing new name of hero brand at CHINAPLAS


Chu: What do you think about the market outlook in 2023?


Huang: The market will most likely see the first half of 2023 faring poorly due to excess inventory and lowered demand amid reduced consumption in medical supplies and electronic products due to people spending less time at home.


However, the second half of 2023 is expected to bounce back positively into a steady state, with tourism, office work and travels recovering to pre-COVID level. There could be a shift away from traditional polymer applications due to climate change and greater environmental awareness. Topics like circular economy and biopolymers are set to disrupt the traditional polymers market.


Chu: What are the highlights of Cargill’s presence at CHINAPLAS 2023?


Huang: During the exhibition, Cargill will be showcasing our wide range of specialty additives for plastics. The Crodamide range is our most well-known product of slip & anti-block additives used in polyolefins for many different applications from packaging, automotive, electronics and medical industries.


Since the move of this business to Cargill, it is necessary to change the name of this brand, and we are excited that we will be able to reveal the new name, Optislip, for the first time at CHINAPLAS. We welcome people to our booth to learn more about the tradename change. 


We will also be showcasing many other solutions, including Ionphase permanent static control solutions, Atmer anti-static & anti-fogging additives, Incroslip high stability torque release additives, IncroMold mold release & anti-scratch additives, and IncroMax additives for engineering polymers. Our technical experts will be available at the booth and show demonstrations of the effects in different plastic systems.

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