Roquette celebrated the opening of the world's largest pea protein plant on Wednesday, extending its position to meet surging global demand for alternative proteins.
The company says this new "Plant for the Future" gives it the largest pea protein supply in the world alongside some of the world's best experts in developing new plant-based foods.
"We see this as a transformational event in our history and a boost to the global plant-based food sector," says Pierre Courduroux, CEO.
"Diets have changed considerably in recent years, and the desire for alternative proteins continues to grow. Our company is proud to bring this amazing new facility online to serve demand in North America and around the world."
Roquette works closely with food leaders to develop new products and solutions that are contributing to the development of a new plant-based cuisine offering sustainable food for a healthier planet. Demand for pea protein has been booming with multiple industry estimates expecting an annual global growth rate between 15% and 24% over the next decade.
With the new plant, Roquette has responded to that demand and is the only company with major pea protein facilities on both sides of the Atlantic.
The new plant is just outside Winnipeg in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba on the Canadian Prairies. The region produces more peas than any other in the world, all within a day's drive of the plant.
With easy access to the U.S. and international markets by road, rail and air, the new plant is the largest player in a region becoming known as the Silicon Valley of Plant-Based Protein.
"The pandemic has led to stronger consumer demand for plant-based proteins while also disrupting global supply chains," says Jeremy Burks, senior vice president of Plant Proteins.
"This plant will help our customers move forward rapidly on product development. The plant protein food sector needs investment, expertise and innovation to meet global demand."
With this new facility, Roquette has largely exceeded the half a billion euros investment in plant proteins it had targeted in the period 2015-2020. This includes equity investments, acquisitions, upgrades to the plant in Vic-sur-Aisne, France and the brand-new plant in Portage, which is Roquette's largest ever North American investment.
The 200,000-square-foot-plant has the capacity to process 125,000 tons of yellow peas per year. When combined with Roquette's plant in France, the company's capacity now rises to 250,000 tons of peas per year.
"This plant is an engineering marvel," says Dominique Baumann, managing director of Roquette in Canada. "The design of the plant is a proof-point of our sustainable development approach, with 100% hydroelectricity power and optimized water management. This plant is part of a whole story, involving farmers, suppliers and local teams."
Nutritionally, peas are an excellent protein source. They're high in fiber and low in fat. On the farm, peas are more environmentally sustainable. They require less water to grow than most other crops, and farmers like that they use less nitrogen fertilizer, while they also naturally produce compounds beneficial to soil health.
According to Roquette, consumers love pea protein as an alternative protein source because it is easily digestible, gluten-free, non-GMO and has low allergenicity.