The $75m investment will go towards retrofitting an existing facility in Dawson, Minnesota, for pea protein production. PURIS will now own and operate three facilities in North America solely focused on pea protein production: Turtle Lake, Wisconsin; Oskaloosa, Iowa; and Dawson, Minnesota. With engineering complete on the Dawson facility, construction to retrofit it for pea production will start immediately, said Cargill, with an anticipated operational start date of late 2020.
"This is more than a pea protein facility. This is the future of food. The Dawson facility will not only support PURIS farmers in the US with a crop that regenerates their land and that is sustainable because it provides soil health advantages but will also support the growing demand for great tasting plant-based products in the market place. This investment will grant PURIS the ability to support more food companies, more farmers and more consumers faster," said Tyler Lorenzen, PURIS president.
Cargill and PURIS formed a joint venture in January 2018 with an initial investment of $25m to ramp up PURIS' pea protein production to a global scale noting that the world population is expected to grow to $9bn by 2050 and demand for alternative plant-based proteins is increasing each year.
"Cargill is committed to growing our plant protein portfolio.This includes investing in, and growing, our traditional protein business, as well exploring new opportunities for future growth, such as pea protein,” David Henstrom, vice president of Cargill starches, sweeteners and texturizers, previously told FoodNavigator-USA.
Pea protein: The future of food?
According to Innova Market Insights, launches of pea-protein-based food and beverage products grew at a 19% CAGR globally from January 2016 to December 2018. Pea protein is used in a number of plant-based food formulations including dairy alternatives drinks and meat substitutes.
"As consumer demand increases for plant-based proteins, we want to make sure that Cargill, with our partner PURIS, can deliver on that demand with great tasting, sustainable and label-friendly pea protein for customers in North America and across the world," said Laurie Koenig, Cargill texturizers and specialty lead.
PURIS stated that its non-GMO and organic pea protein options offer a "proprietary, high-quality, clean flavor" and "check all the boxes consumers are looking for in label-friendly products across multiple food and beverage categories."
Lorenzen previously told this publication that its proprietary pea protein attributes "separate us from the other products that have similar generic names but are very, very different."
As part of its vertically-integrated business model, PURIS has its own proprietary pea seed and a network of over 400 US farmers to grow its peas, which PURIS purchases from teh farmers to turn into various pea ingredients including pea proteins, starches, and fibers.
"While this is an important step in our growth for many reasons, one that resonates personally for me is to move ever closer to the vision my father had in 1985. A vision that plant-based nutrition would propel us to a better future for both people and our planet. With this investment, those possibilities are becoming realities which in turn inspires us to create what's next for plants, people, planet and PURIS," added Lorenzen.