To assess the potential for increased utilisation of UK-grown crops by the industrial starch industry, three starch processing options were considered. Starch production from: home-grown potatoes, home-grown wheat and imported maize. Wheat starch processing margins were found to be similar to, but slightly more attractive than, maize starch processing margins. Both wheat and maize margins were significantly more attractive than potato starch margins. Productions refunds paid to industrial users of wheat starch are equal to maize refunds despite a lower European Union wheat procurement price, giving a small advantage to wheat starch. A review of EU starch policy indicates the UK is unlikely to be awarded a potato starch quota due to the absence of any potato starch manufacturing tradition, and the desire of the European Commission to restrict expenditure within the potato starch regime. These quotas allow the payment of fixed premiums to potato starch manufacturers. Without them potato starch manufacture is likely to be uneconomic discouraging any development of a UK potato starch manufacturing industry. Development of wheat starch processing technology would appear to be economically attractive as well as beneficial, both in terms of import substitution and improving options for set-aside land use. The economics of wheat starch production was calculated for a 100 000 t per annum wheat starch plant. Margins were found to be highly dependant upon sale values of the co-product wheat gluten. Any increase in milling wheat imports within GATT agreements may reduce gluten demand, forcing prices down. Maize starch by-products are sold principally into the lower value animal feed markets and therefore, by-products prices, although important, have much less impact on processing margins than in wheat starch manufacture.
- Industrial use