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Gelymar doubles its carrageenan production capacity

Gelymar S.A, the third largest carrageenan producer globally, completed this week its capacity expansion program initiated 24 months ago with a $15M investment. Its production capacity is now doubled at approximately 10,000 metric tons of product.

Gelymar has been registering double-digit growth for many years, says Andres Hohlberg, Gelymar’s CEO. “We planned this expansion 24 months ago and invested the total investment amount in our two plants in southern Chile, Puerto Montt, and Tierra del Fuego to meet the growing demand of our renewable, new carrageenan line. Doubling the production capacity positions Gelymar as a key player and one of the top three carrageenan producers globally.”

“Food manufacturers rely on expert ingredient producers that can guarantee sustainable supply and offer strong social responsibility programs,” Hohlberg adds. Gelymar produces most of its products from local, renewable fresh raw algae, and uses its solid waste as soil fertilisers for the eucalyptus forest surrounding the plant. The forest is itself the source of sustainable wood for the company’s boilers. “For every tree we cut, another one is planted,” Hohlberg explains. “We use only about half of the water typically required for carrageenan production. Our combining of advanced technologies with sustainable strategy helps us to maintain the lowest carbon footprint in the industry.”

Hohlberg explains that Gelymar’s latest expansion also corresponds to company efforts to strengthen its positions in Europe and North America. “In the past 18 months, we launched over a series of new products for vegan, dairy, confectionery, pharmaceutical, and personal care products that have been extremely successful,” he notes. “Most of those products are developed out of local Chilean seaweed and we definitely needed more capacity to fulfill demand.”

According to many experts, Chilean seaweed varieties are becoming the most strategic seaweeds of the carrageenan industry. Growing in pristine cold water, benefiting from the Humboldt Current protecting it from climate change, they are a source of unique carrageenan fractions such as Kappa-2 and Lambda. Seaweed from Chile also is considered a more reliable supply than, for example, Asian seaweed such as E. cottonii, that currently is challenged by price fluctuation and scarcity.

“We have more than 200 commercial ingredient formulations at Gelymar with different textural and functional properties,” comments Vicente Navarrete, President of Gelymar. “They are composed of multiple extracts. We carry the largest portfolio of such extracts worldwide.” Gelymar uses four different extraction technologies, including one that is proprietary. Gelymar management and its shareholders have promoted the great potential of Chilean seaweed since the early 1980s and remains committed to further development of the company’s expertise and offerings.”

Gelymar markets its products around the globe and benefits from unique, long-term strategic alliances with companies such as Algaia SA in Europe; AIDP, Inc. in the US; Ingregel in Spain, the Middle East, and North-Africa; and Blue Way in China.

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