Roquette to open world’s largest pea protein plant in Canada14 Oct 2020
As the food industry continues to grapple with the fallout from COVID-19, French ingredient manufacture Roquette remains undaunted in its efforts to ramp up production of its pea protein. The company began investing in expanding its production capabilities five years ago and is scheduled to open the world’s largest pea protein plant in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, Canada by December.
The company invested nearly €400 million ($463 million) into this new factory, and when it opens, the additional production capabilities will make Roquette the world’s largest pea protein producer. At the new Canadian facility, the company expects to process 120,000 tons of peas per year. In addition to this North American location, Roquette has another pea-processing plant in France.
While the company was able to maintain its original project timeline for the completion of this processing plant despite hurdles presented by the pandemic, the COVID crisis has caused other difficulties to emerge for many companies. Foodservice outlets have shuttered across the globe, which although has resulted in an uptick in retail demand for plant-based protein alternatives, has not been sufficient to offset industrial-scale losses.
Nevertheless, Jean-Philippe Azoulay, Head of Pea and New Proteins Business at Roquette has said in multiple interviews that he does not expect this trend to be a long term change in the industry. In January this year, the company signed a three-year supply agreement with the plant-based burger maker Beyond Meat, which will end in 2022.
In fact, Reuters reported Azoulay said the uptick in demand for plant-based options from consumers may accelerate the company’s plans to open a second processing facility in Canada. Reuters reported that sales of U.S. volume sales of fresh plant-based meat rose 102% in the second quarter of this year.
Grand View Research published data showing the global market for pea protein is expected to reach $385.7 million by 2027. However, despite the continued popularity of the alternative protein, which is used in alternative meat, milks and flours, the ingredient has some drawbacks. Criticism of pea protein includes its gritty texture and distinctive taste. Still, the ingredient, which is known to be sustainable, is growing at a meteoric pace that Euromonitor International cited as unsustainable last year without additional production capacity.
Roquette is stepping in to make sure that there is sufficient product for companies looking to use this alternative protein source. But the French ingredients manufacturer is not alone. ADM is working on a plant in North Dakota and Puris is partnering with Cargill to fund a production facility in Minnesota.
With competition increasing, having the title of “world’s largest” may prove to be beneficial to Roquette as it strives to stand out in the alternative protein ingredient market.
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