USA – Ingredion, a major player providing ingredient solutions, is set to invest US$140 million to accelerate production of plant-based proteins and meet its consumer demand globally.

The investment is also expected to see the company expand to offer a wider array of plant based protein solutions.

Following the investment, two of the company’s facilities located in North America will produce pea-protein isolates and a range of pulse-based flours and concentrates next year.

Strategic investments

In February 2018, Ingredion acquired a soy processing facility in Nebraska.

The company is making significant capital investments to transform the plant into a protein isolates producing facility from peas with expansion plans to include production of isolates from other pulses as well.

Upon its completion the facility will produce ingredients that will enhance inclusion of higher protein isolates in one of the company’s pulse protein isolate line, primarily for the nut nutrition, health and wellness categories.

The company also entered into a joint venture agreement with Verient Foods, Inc., a Canadian company, and investments are being made within the existing facility to make pulse-based protein concentrates and flours from peas, lentils and fava beans for human food applications. 

“We’ve identified plant-based proteins as a high-growth, high-value market opportunity that is on-trend with consumers’ desire to find sustainable and good tasting alternatives to animal-based proteins,” said Ingredion’s president and chief executive officer Jim Zallie. 

 “We’re excited by what these investments represent for Ingredion. 

 Being a sustainable and trusted source of plant-based proteins provides us with another major ingredient platform to complement our offerings in clean label, wholesome, texture and nutritional ingredient solutions,” he added.

According to Jim Cameron of Verient Foods, the partnership with Ingredion will see the two companies in a better position in the business.

“We’ve found a great partner in Ingredion. 

They share our vision for plant-based proteins and other ingredients from pulses,and with their resources, expertise and world-wide reach, together we can be leaders in the new wave of global food production. 

This is also a huge opportunity for Canadians, especially in the prairie provinces,to add value locally to their vast agricultural production,” he said.

Growing plant-based protein market

According to Ingredion, the number of consumers switching to plant-based proteins for reasons such as; protecting animals, preserving the environment, general health concerns or changing taste preferences are increasing.

Ingredion said that the global market for non-soy, gluten-free plant-based proteins is projected to be US$1.5 billion by 2022.

As a result, manufacturers are looking at plant-based proteins that offer functional, sustainable and nutritional attributes, inclusive of non-GMO and certified organic options.

“More consumers are looking for products with clean and simple labels, offering specific health and nutrition benefits that taste great,” said Tony DeLio,senior vice president of corporate strategy and chief innovation officer at Ingredion. 

“Meeting the nutritional needs and achieving the right functional requirements will require a broad range of protein alternatives that are sustainable, affordable and great tasting.

By combining our expertise in product formulation with an expanded plant-based product portfolio, we’re well positioned to deliver a breadth of ingredient solutions for our customers around the world.”

“We look forward to working with Verdient Foods, Inc. and leveraging their sustainable sourcing practices for Canadian pulses.

Our investments in Nebraska and Saskatchewan represent an exciting new chapter for Ingredion as an innovative ingredient solutions provider,” added Zallie.