Roquette spends €11M to accelerate plant-based proteins

28 Sep 2021

French plant-based ingredients maker Roquette announced it opened an R&D accelerator in Vic-Sur-Aisne, France that is fully dedicated to plant protein innovation and development as well as new production technologies.

Using an €11 million ($13 million) investment, Senior Vice President of Plant Proteins at Roquette Jeremy Burks said, “we will bring plant-based innovation up to a new level.”

Roquette spends €11M to accelerate plant-based proteins

Not only does the ingredients company intend to raise the bar within the general plant-based protein market, but it will dedicate the innovation coming out of this center directly to its own ingredients portfolio. Besides extending its pea and wheat protein range, Roquette said it intends to introduce several new sources of protein every five years.

This new accelerator center is not the only expansion effort that the French ingredients maker has made in recent years. In 2018, it acquired a textured plant protein extrusion site in the Netherlands and is currently overseeing the construction of the world’s largest pea protein plant in Canada, which Roquette said will start production before the end of 2021.

Flexitarianism is on the rise as consumers become increasingly concerned with the effects of meat consumption on the environment as well as individual health. As a result, the market for plant-based protein has experienced a meteoric rise in the last several years, and the investment firm UBS expects the category to grow from $4.6 billion in 2018 to $85 billion in 2030. Roquette has taken advantage of this demand and has invested especially heavily in pea protein, which is a popular source of plant-based protein as it can be used in a wide variety of applications but which was at risk of a shortage in 2019.

However, as demand for protein alternatives continues to grow, ingredients manufacturers like Roquette are looking for ever more innovative solutions to improve the taste and nutritional profile of plant-based products as companies bid to widen the market for plant-based alternatives and attract more consumers. Already, Roquette has experimented with fava beans as well as wheat, corn and potatoes within its portfolio, but other companies have had success with rice, sunflower seeds, algae and chickpeas.

It is clear from this investment that Roquette also sees potential elsewhere for plant-based proteins. Going forward, it will continue to be important for the ingredients maker to maintain innovation in order to remain a leader in the plant-based protein market and continue to deliver options that are tasty and attractive to consumers that are increasingly interested in these alternative protein products.