US – North America’s leading flour supplier Ardent Mills has announced its intention to acquire the operations of US-based chickpea sourcing and processing firm, Hinrichs Trading Company as part of the company’s strategy to diversify its portfolio of solutions.

Headquartered in Pullman, Washington, Hinrichs  oversees production and processing of chickpea products across five locations in Washington and Montana

With a Hinrichs acquisition, Ardent Mills is looking to further invest in its speciality ingredient capabilities, building upon its existing wheat flour business.

“Ardent Mills and Hinrichs Trading Company share a strong commitment to our growers, customers, team members, communities, and to growth and innovation,” said Dan Dye, CEO of Ardent Mills.

“There is a strong cultural alignment and shared values across both organisations. We look forward to welcoming the talented Hinrichs Trading Company team to the Ardent Mills family.”

Hinrichs Trading Company CEO Phil Hinrichs said the potential merger with Ardent mills will provide his company with operational and technical expertise, access to new markets, and the ability to scale quickly and sustainably.

The proposed merger comes at tome when the plant-based food and beverage market is rapidly growing buoyed by shifting consumer preferences and investments in the sector.

According to data from Meticulous Research, the plant-based food market is expected to reach US$74.2 billion by 2027, at a CAGR of 11.9% during the forecast period of 2020 to 2027.

Increasing incidences of intolerance for animal protein, increasing vegan population, and significant venture investments in plant-based product manufacturers are some of the key factors driving the growth of the plant based products market, according to the report.

Moreover, the report notes that growing focus on research & development and new product launches by plant-based products and alternative protein manufacturers; and growing demand from emerging economies are expected to create lucrative growth opportunities for the players operating in this market.

Shrene White, general manager of The Annex by Ardent Mills, added: “The plant-based food and beverage market shows no sign of slowing down…This potential venture will enable us to offer diverse chickpea solutions to our customers from day one.”

The parties are undertaking due diligence and expect the deal to close in April 2021.

Last year, Ardent Mills announced that it had agreed to acquire Andean Naturals’ quinoa operations, as it aimed to expand its speciality grain capabilities.

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