An exclusive interview with Colleen May, President of Cargill’s Bioindustrial Group

Colleen May

Cargill is one of the main players of the world bioeconomy. The company founded in 1865 by William Wallace Cargill in Minnesota, USA, has today more than 155,000 employees worldwide serving food and beverage manufacturers, foodservice companies and retailers with food ingredients as well as food and non-food applications.

In this exclusive interview with Il Bioeconomista, Colleen May, President of Cargill’s Bioindustrial Group, tells us what is the bioeconomy from her company’s point of view and what are Cargill’s next steps in the green chemistry.

Interview by Mario Bonaccorso

What is the Bioeconomy from Cargill’s point of view?

Cargill defines the “bioeconomy” as the production of renewable biological resources (plants, animals, micro-organisms and derived biomass, including organic waste) and their conversion into value-added ingredients for food, feed, bio-based products and bioenergy.  Cargill has created a Bioindustrial group that focuses on non-food and non-feed markets.

What are the current role of farmers in the US Bioeconomy and what can they aspire to have in the next few years?

Farmers play a fundamental role in contributing to a successful bioeconomy in the U.S. and globally.  A thriving agriculture system is the starting point and is critical to producing the renewable resources necessary to drive the bioeconomy.  Cargill sees global access to quality agricultural feedstocks as a critical part of enabling the growth in our Bioindustrial business.  The work we do with farmers and sustainability measures help to drive the business forward.

What are your main investments in green chemistry and what are your next steps?

Cargill is supplying green chemistry markets in a number of industrial sectors including construction and building materials, power generation and specialty chemicals.  Cargill also supplies the personal care sector including beauty and cosmetic markets.  Cargill is working to develop new processes for biobased chemical intermediates.  We are working with a number of partners across the value chain to drive those efforts forward.  We continue to examine new technologies that advance green chemistry opportunities on a global basis.

What do you think are the most important milestones the green chemical industry must achieve in the next 5 years?

Quality, functionality and economic scalability are critical characteristics required for the green chemical industry.  It will be important to partner with brand owners to drive the innovation that consumers desire.  Today’s consumers are interested in understanding where their products come from and how they are produced.  Partnering throughout the value chains will allow us to focus on the right innovations as well as accelerate time to market for these new technologies.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.