After importing a record 116,016 MT of potato starch in 2018, the U.S. imported over 14,500 MT in January of this year, up 37 percent from January 2018. Shipments dropped off sharply in February, but the trend higher seems likely to continue in 2019. The EU provides most U.S. potato starch imports, over 80 percent in 2017 and 2018, and nearly all the remaining volume comes from Canada.
With large granules and excellent texturizing and gelatinization properties, potato starch is used in food and industrial applications. The starch is also non-GMO.
The U.S. processed 4.58 billion pounds of potatoes for starch and flour in 2017, down from 4.80 billion annually in 2015 and 2016. The reduction coincides with the rise in imports, indicating demand has not declined. This year, Ingredion bought Western Polymer, a potato starch manufacturer based in Washington, building on the potato starch capacity it acquired from its purchase of Penford in 2014.
U.S. monthly imports of specialty starches
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