NutraCea plans quick capacity increase

By staff reporter

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Rice bran Nutrition Nutracea

An increase in demand for stabilized rice bran derivatives since
NutraCea's merger with RiceX is requiring the Californian company
to increase capacity at its plant by more than 50 percent.

NutraCea and RiceX - both of which were originally founded by NutraCea CEO Patricia McPeak - merged in June 2005, with the latter becoming a fully-owned subsidiary. The company now controls 100 per cent of the human market for rice bran and 50 percent of the combined human and animal markets, which have a total value of $12 million.

RiceX first developed the proprietary rice bran stabilization process to turn the by-product of rice processing into a valuable source of nutrition and manufacture products mainly for the animal feed market.

Founded in 1998, NutraCea took the process a step further by developing the means to create food and nutrition products for human consumption from the rice bran it sourced from RiceX.

Stabilized rice bran is a naturally rich source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, yet it is normally discarded during rice processing.

COO Ike Lynch said that since the merger the company's facility in Dillon, Montana, has been operating at or close to 100 percent of its capacity - an increase of 400 percent on the nine months leading up to it.

The company is speeding ahead with an expansion program that is being funded though cash it has to hand, and current cash flow, and expects it to be completed during the second quarter of this year.

Senior VP Margie Adelman said the expansion is "the most efficient and economical means of boosting capacity as quickly as possible to meet the increasing demands of the marketplace"​.

"Strong market interest in our proprietary stabilized rice bran derivatives has prompted the need for increased manufacturing capability and is consistent with our goal of meeting growing customer demands and a new awareness of our products' value."

As well as whole food products and food ingredients, the company also develops nutraceuticals aimed at health indications such as arthritis and high cholesterol.

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