In February 2018, the company purchased a soy processing facility in South Sioux City, NE, and is making significant capital investments to transform the site to produce protein isolates from peas with expansion plans to include production of isolates from other pulses as well. Once the investments are completed, this facility will produce ingredients that enhance the company’s current VITESSENCE pulse protein isolate line, to include higher protein isolates primarily for the nutrition, health and wellness categories.
The company also revealed that it has entered into a joint venture agreement with Verdient Foods, Inc., a Canadian company based in Vanscoy, Saskatchewan, jointly owned and operated by Oscar-winning film director James Cameron and Suzy Amis Cameron and a local Saskatchewan family office—PIC Investment Group. 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.”
Mr. Cameron stated: “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 worldwide 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.”
Growing Plant-Based Protein Market
An increased number of consumers are switching to plant-based diets for many reasons, including protecting animals, preserving the environment, general health concerns or changing taste preferences. As more consumers seek these alternatives, the market for plant-based proteins is rapidly growing and extending beyond North America and to sources beyond soy and wheat protein. The global market for non-soy, gluten-free plant-based proteins is projected to be $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,” added Mr. Zallie. “Our investments in Nebraska and Saskatchewan represent an exciting new chapter for Ingredion as an innovative ingredient solutions provider.”