CANADA – Roquette, a global leader in plant-based ingredients and a pioneer of new vegetal proteins, has announced that it is on track to open the world’s largest pea protein plant in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, Canada, by the end of this year.
The move comes as the plant-based revolution marches on and industry grapples for more appealing and diverse ways to present plant-based proteins to the masses.
Roquette has invested more than half a billion Euros in pea protein over a period of five years, of which nearly €400 million (US$463 million) in the new factory in Canada. Canada is the number one pea growing country in the world.
Roquette builds its facilities in crop growing areas. This minimizes transportation logistics and reduces the overall footprint for the company.
“Indeed, the world is shifting and accelerating the use of plant-based ingredients and vegetable protein.”Jean-Philippe Azoulay – vice president Roquette
Once the site is fully operational, around 120,000 tons of peas per year will be processed at the new site
“Plant-based is no longer a trend; it’s a key market driver. Canada is the number one pea growing country in the world, so it made sense for us to base this new facility at the heart of the growing area, and that was how Portage la Prairie was selected,” Jean-Philippe Azoulay, vice president of the company’s pea and new proteins business line, said.
Azoulay believes that Roquette has a duty to help its customers and provide valuable options in an extremely competitive sector.
“If there is one thing that you want to encourage in the realms of plant-based, it is choice. There needn’t be shortages or supply chain issues for these types of ingredients,” he outlines.
The project for North America started two years ago and has mobilized several hundred people on-site, from Roquette teams to contractors and local partner companies.
“Initially, we significantly invested in our plant in France and now we are increasing our capacity in Canada for the entire North American and South American markets. There is promising potential in these areas,” Azoulay explains.
“Indeed, the world is shifting and accelerating the use of plant-based ingredients and vegetable protein,” he adds, noting how this has been prevalent long before the COVID-19 pandemic.
For Roquette, pea protein is not a new concept. The company has been using it for 15 years, says Azoulay.
For Azoulay, it has been a real achievement to be part of such a significant project during a pandemic, particularly as the demand for alternative proteins is rising.
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