FRANCE- French family-run beverage producer LSDH Group has opened a new US$34.86 million plant-based beverage manufacturing plant, which utilizes state-of-the-art dry processing technology from Bühler.

“We knew there were already lines and plants equipped with Bühler technology for this type of application. Therefore, Bühler’s experience and know-how in this field were determining factors in our decision,” said Thibaud Bombart, the project manager.

The plant is part of Atelier INOVé, a new industrial facility co-owned by LSDH in partnership with Sofiprotéol, an investment company dedicated to producing plant-based beverages and developing local supply chains for agricultural raw materials.

The soy plant utilizes pulse storage and processing technology from Bühler, whose cleaning and dehulling process line has an output capacity of 3 tonnes per hour and a soybean storage capacity of 240 tonnes.

“It was quite reassuring for us to work with a partner who knows the business well, who has a strong background in soybean dehulling and experience in processing soybeans for plant-based beverages,” Bombart remarked.

As part of the complete cleaning section, Bühler supplied its MTRB separator, the MTSC destoner, the Sortex A optical sorter, the OTW fluid-bed heat-exchanger, the MHSA dehuller, the MOZJ dampener, several aspiration channels and all the process auxiliaries such as mechanical conveyors and pneumatic lines.

“We were delighted to take part in this innovation journey with LSDH, combining our forces to develop sustainable value chains, as Bühler has many years of experience and solid expertise in processing pulses,” said Frederic Bobineau, sales manager at Bühler Group.

With a surface area of 9,000 square meters, Atelier INOVé has a production capacity of 100 million liters of plant-based beverages yearly and will produce raw juices for the food industry and finished products for mass distribution.

Additionally, Buhler explained that the installed plant is specific for soy processing, but features space for installing additional processing lines for raw materials such as oat flour and oat flakes.

“We have now installed the line for the processing of soybean, but we do not intend to stop there,” Bombart said.

“Besides soy, there are many other ingredients, such as quinoa, spelt, buckwheat, barley, and sunflower, that can be used for plant-based beverages, and we want to find the best way to produce them, especially those with high levels of protein. For that, we count on Bühler’s expertise and technology going forward.”

With this US$34.86 million investment in the new facility, the company’s ambition is to be a key player in the plant-based beverage ingredient market in France.

“We work with distributors and want to be able to offer them local soy ingredients that can be used in their products such as plant-based yogurts, ice creams, and cheeses,” Bombart concluded.

LSDH Group has a dairy business that employs 2,000 people in its two sites; a vegetable business, that packages salads and aromatic herbs in two production sites; and a liquid business that features five sites in charge of the production and packaging of various beverages and liquid foods.

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