The company announced as part of its strategy, Disciplined Value Creation, last year it was accelerating its growth into the biotechnology arena, making the next step in the bioplastics value chain by becoming a PLA producer.
Bioplastics value chain
PLA is a bioplastic, which is biobased and biodegradable.
Tjerk de Ruiter, CEO, Corbion, told FoodProductionDaily, given the firm’s strong position in lactic acid, high heat technology and the market need for a second PLA producer, it plans to forward integrate in the bioplastics value chain, from being a lactide provider to a PLA producer.
“For the food industry, this latest development should boost confidence for packaging manufacturers looking to produce PLA food packaging,” he said.
“PLA is particularly suited to compostable applications such as thin films, bags and coffee capsules for example.
“Corbion will remain active in the production and development of lactic acid and its derivatives, continuing to deliver food ingredients to enhance freshness and safety of foods.”
Major second source for PLA resins
According to de Ruiter, Corbion has been in contact with a range of existing and new PLA users over the past few months.
He said these contacts confirmed their strong interest to have access to a major second source for PLA resins.
“We have signed LOI’s with over 15 different parties. Many of them are already using significant amounts of PLA, while others will enter the market with PLA products over the next few years,” he added.
“We are however not at liberty to disclose any further details about these companies, only they operate in a variety of industries including food, packaging and fibers, located across different geographies.”
To further accelerate market acceptance of PLA, Corbion has begun to test, validate and sell pre-marketing volumes of PLA which is says is to a ‘deeper insight’ into the various product-market combinations.
“The pre-engineering is in full progress and is expected to run till end of the year,” added de Ruiter.