Cargill has launched a Spanish-language version of its global texturizing website.
Fully searchable and addressing all food categories, the website highlights Cargill's portfolio of texturizing ingredients, ranging from single ingredients — such as pectins, carrageenans, alginates, locust bean and guar gums, xanthan gum, soy flours, starches, lecithins, cultures and enzymes — to multicomponent functional systems.
What can other companies seeking to expand in Latin America learn from Cargill's experience?
As Cargill has seen firsthand, speaking a common language with potential clients is crucial to growth outside of the English-speaking world.
"Last year, we launched a Chinese-language website, and it improved our business performance in that region," explained Gerald Dard, regional director, Latin America, for Cargill Texturizing Solutions. "By speaking our customers' language, we improve and enhance our relationship with them, and bring our expertise closer to them."
The fact Cargill has had a presence in the Latin American region — in some countries for many years — gave them a natural base from which to build.
"In the leading countries of Latin America — Mexico, Argentina, Brazil — we have our own company representatives in place, and we leverage Cargill's local corporate structures and resources to serve the other countries," Dard said.
"In Latin America, customers can benefit from the proximity of sales offices, a technical service laboratory and a production plant in Mexico City; sales offices in the Caribbean islands that also serve Cuba; sales offices and an application centre in Buenos Aires, Argentina; and sales offices in Sao Paulo, Brazil."
The company also has sales offices, a production facility and a meat applications centre in Rubi, Spain.
Given the impressive growth of the food industry in Latin America (see FI's June 11 article), Cargill believes the time couldn't be better for regional expansion.
"The food industry in Latin America is growing rapidly, and our launch of a Spanish-language website demonstrates recognition of that growth, and of the need to invest in tools that will improve our communication," Dard said. "Whatever a company's presence abroad, we feel that speaking a common language with customers plays an important role in being able to understand and meet their business needs."
In recent years, Cargill Texturizing Solutions has experienced double-digit annual sales growth in Latin America, as well as strong growth in other regions, thanks in part to a flurry of acquisitions and compacts.
In 2003, Cargill acquired Cerestar, a leading European starch manufacturer, and also entered the Xanthan gum business through a joint venture with the Chinese Group Shandong Huanghelong. In 2005, Cargill expanded its reach to the pectin business through the acquisition of Citrico and its plant in Malchin, Germany. In 2006, the company acquired the Shandong Huanghelong Group, and also acquired Degussa Food Ingredients, whose Texturant Systems business was merged into Cargill Texturizing Solutions, adding hydrocolloids, cultures, lecithins and functional systems to the company's portfolio.
"The subsequent integration of these businesses has resulted in more opportunities to innovate and create value and growth for Cargill's customers globally, and in Latin America in particular," Dard said.