A blossoming plant

Part of the Frandino founded Group, Sedalcol (UK) is an agribusiness that processes wheat to manufacture a range of value-added products that includes wheatfeed, gluten, starch and alcohol for food and beverages.

The history of the Frandino Group dates back to the late 1960s in Italy, when the Frandino family established a simple fruit distillery under the name Sedamyl. Since then, Sedamyl has become the Sedalcol 127 bleading Italian producer of wheat-based products for the food and paper industries as well as for fermentation. To further cement its position in the market, the company has expanded into strategic locations such as France and the UK and established important partnerships with international organisations within the sector.

Today a partner of Tereos, a French co-operative sugar group that processes agricultural raw materials into sugar, alcohol and starch, the Frandino Group has three sites that boast a total turnover of more than 300 million euros. The group also has over 250 employees and processes in excess of 700,000 tonnes of wheat per year. Having established Sedalcol (France) in the late 1990s, it then took the a strategic decision to establish Sedalcol (UK) in 2010, when the former Tate&Lyle citric acid plant in Selby, Yorkshire, was purchased.

Commenting on the formation of Sedalcol (UK) is Elena Frandino, Managing Director of Sedalcol (UK): “Following 18 months of construction in the UK, the commissioning of the plant and production at Sedalcol (UK) started in April 2012 and has continued with no interruption. In fact, we are celebrating our fifth anniversary this year.”

She continues: “The reason we decided to build a distillery in the UK was because we were already supplying the UK market from our French plant. Yorkshire is also a good area for the sourcing of raw material wheat, with all of our wheat locally sourced within a 50-mile radius. Additionally, we have a very long-term relationship with the main spirit producers in the UK and are considered as a highly reliable supplier with strong standards.”

Currently employing approximately 60 people at its 32-acre site in Selby, Sedalcol (UK) focuses on neutral grain alcohol as its main product. On top of this, the company produces gluten, the wheat protein, which is sold to the bakery industry and is also used for pet food and aqua feed; other products include native and modified dry starch, which is sold to the paper industry, and wheatfeed and liquid bottom still. Both of the latter are co-products of the company’s main production and are sold to the animal nutrition industry.

Revitalised community
The company’s move to a former Selby idle factory has proven to have a positive impact on the community, thanks to employment opportunities and the redevelopment of the local area through investment in the development of a new sports field and community facilities at Selby College. “Sedalcol (UK) has contributed to new work opportunities and developed business for all of the suppliers, haulers, contractors of the locals,” confirms Elena. “For example, every day we receive more than 30 trucks of wheat and we ship out an equivalent number of trucks with finished products. The close proximity of our sourced wheat also reduces transport to the minimum amount possible.”

This wheat arrives to the plant by HGV (heavy goods vehicle), where the truck is then weighed and a representative sample is taken from the load for analysis. Wheat is then offloaded into an intake pit and conveyed into storage silos. During distillation, the fermented wine feeds the distillation columns where the separation and rectification of alcohol/water is performed. In terms of alcohol production, the final products are grain neutral alcohol, at 96 per cent, head and tails and fusel oils.Sedalcol 127 c

Plant efficiency
Benefiting from being ideally located in a high wheat producing region, which lowers costs and pollution levels related to transportation, Elena says the sustainability-focused firm has also ensured its plant operates a reliable and sustainable supply chain: “From the wheat, everything is recovered and valorised and effluents are very limited and treated on site in our waste water plant. Furthermore, all production processes are operated in a highly energy efficient way, by reducing consumption and by producing our own electricity on-site. Generally, UK regulation requires us to operate by applying the best available techniques, therefore we are always striving to improve in this area.”

Key to delivering a reliable supply chain is the automation of the ISO 9001:2008 certified plant, which operates on a continuous basis, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. “This allows the plant to efficiently perform several tasks and controls production on a continuous basis,” says Elena. To further boost its environmentally friendly activities, the plant also limits CO2 emissions thanks to maximum heat recovery in the plant.

As it continues to find ways to enhance energy efficiency and sustainability at its Selby plant, Sedalcol (UK) has also enjoyed solid success in the UK, which has resulted in the company being listed in the London Stock Exchange Group’s 1000 Companies to Inspire Britain Report. With the plant’s products certain to remain in demand over the coming years, Elena says Sedalcol (UK) is also paying attention to market developments, such as Brexit and the induction of a sugar tax in October 2016, and responding accordingly: “We believe that the sugar tax announced in the UK could create new opportunity for the sweeteners sector by stimulating product reformulation in the food and beverage sector. In terms of new developments, a natural evolution of starch plant is the production of more complex starch derivatives such as sweetener syrups. We are currently analysing this opportunity to pursue these developments.”

“Looking ahead, there are uncertainties due to Brexit and how the UK will position itself in the market. This is causing delay in certain decisions in the industry, however this will hopefully soon be clarified and businesses in general will be able to make more sound decisions. In the meantime, Sedalcol (UK) will focus on efficiently improving and growing its offer to the market while keeping a very open approach to any new opportunity that may arise in the sector,” Elena concludes.