USA – Dutch multinational agricultural commodities trading giant Louis Dreyfus has opened a new R&D facility in the US to spearhead the company’s foray into the lucrative plant protein market.  

The R&D plant protein center, which is located in San Francisco Bay, California, is part of the company’s commitment “to help shape a strong and sustainable food system”. 

LDC plans to use the facility to research a variety of proteins and ensure that it has the best commodity pricing and origination. 

It will also serve as a laboratory and pilot plant to develop products, validate their technical and commercial value and build know-how for future applications. 

Entering the plant based market is a timely move by Louis Dreyfus as the market is projected to exceed US$162 billion within the next decade, according to a recent report by Bloomberg Intelligence.  

The other big four commodities trading giants Bunge, ADM, and Cargill all have considerable investments in the sector, a testament to its potential for growth.  

Last year, Bunge Ltd. invested US$45.7 million in Australian Plant Proteins (APP) for a minority stake in the plant-based company.   

Cargill on the other hand has been in the plant-based scene since 2018 when it created a joint venture Puris to accelerate the production of plant-based food. 

Louis Dreyfus is now coming joining its peers in “as part of our strategic growth plans to move further downstream and diversify revenue through more value-added products,” according to Michael Gelchie, Louis Dreyfus CEO.   

“We see an opportunity to participate in the rapidly-growing plant-based foods market through plant protein extraction and food and beverage application formulation, leveraging our existing origination and industrial capabilities”. 

In developing its plant-based capabilities, Louis Dreyfus aspires to be the partner of choice for food companies and innovative brands who wish to incorporate more sustainable proteins in their products. 

“We will enter the market with the first range of non-GMO plant protein isolates by the end of 2022, with an initial focus on North America,” Louis Dreyfus’ chief strategy officer, Thomas Couteaudier, added. 

The ultimate aim for the company is “to offer global customers a multipurpose portfolio of products and application solutions”. 

Earlier this year, the company joined the ranks of industry giants who pledged to improve global food systems.  

Along with its anti-deforestation commitment, LDC will eliminate the practice of converting native vegetation to agricultural land from its supply chains by the end of 2025. 

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