Case 11.2: Emsland Group - sustainability through ‘using nature to create’ - Germany

Detailed Information

Name of the company: Emsland Group

Country: Germany

Size of the business: 1 200 employees



The Emsland Group manufactures vegetable (potato, pea, etc.) based innovative products for the processing industry. The Emsland Group is not only Germany’s largest producer of potato starch, but also the market leader for flakes, granules and specialties. Since 1928, the solutions developed by the Emsland Group have been used worldwide in the processing industry. Since then, more than one hundred products were created and now used in the food sector, food retailing, in technical applications as well as for animal feed. When the German government changed the fertilizer legislation, the Emsland Group saw opportunity in the starch-based flocculants as a good alternative to synthetic polymers. The starch is renewable and ecologic friendly. The production facilities are situated in seven locations with each site having its own unique core competencies.

Main activities

The main activities are processing of potatoes and peas, and modifying the starches and proteins. Enterprise produces pea and potato starch derivatives, potato flakes and granules, pea and potato fibres and proteins. According to the company, they are the only ones in the world which are producing pure starch-based flocculants for waste water, liquid manure and digestate.


The Emsland Group is one of the leading companies in creating innovative product solutions based on renewable raw materials, mainly from potatoes. The Emsland Group’s products are used in many industrial branches like food-, adhesives-, textile or paper industry. Products are distributed via agencies located worldwide. Different kind of marketing tools like online marketing, social media, exhibitions, trade shows, advertising activities are incorporated. Company exports 76% of its production, and its market includes 120 countries worldwide.

Challenges and solutions

The Emsland Group has plans to further grow in the future. Enterprise has invested a lot into modernization and new equipment as well as into new product developments in all kind of segments. The challenge lies in the full utilization of the existing equipment.

The biggest problems for the business development are legislation and its implementation; an adaptation of existing systems to the starch-based flocculants.

What makes this case innovative?

The case represents a strong processing and production innovation focused company exploring the opportunities to expand the use of selected agricultural produce for wider variety of applications within food industry as well as in other industries. The company is the only one in the world which is producing pure starch-based flocculants for wastewater, liquid manure and digestate.

Other related Business Cases

Case 11.1: Borregaard – production of sustainable and environmentally friendly alternatives to petrochemicals – Norway 

Case 8.1: Aloja Starkelsen – organic starch and plant-based products for home and industrial application – Latvia

Case 8.2: Lilli Agro – organic straw pellets for animal bedding – Estonia

Case 10.1: Est-Agar – sustainable enhancement of the red algae Furcellaria lumbricalis – Estonia

Case 10.2: SatiMed – wellness and health products from the hemp plant – Lithuania

Case 10.3: oceanBASIS – natural cosmetics and food from seaweed – Germany

Newest business articles
Model 1: Heat and Fuel from Woody Biomass
This Business Model type was formed by processing companies using woody biomass aiming to substitute fossil-based energy resources. More specifically, it represented two types of enterprise […]
Model 2: Fuel and Electricity from Biogas
The type is formed by processing companies aiming to replace fossil energy, but what sets it apart from the previous type that used woody biomass for solid fuels, is different biomass input […]
Model 3: District Heating and Electricity from Various Biomass Sources
This Business Model type is based on five enterprises that use waste and other various sources of biomass for the production of heat and electricity, and bioethanol (one company). It is set […]