Dawson, MN, plant will enable PURIS to supply 50% of North America's pea protein

By Elaine Watson

- Last updated on GMT

The 200,000 sq ft facility in Dawson, Minnesota, was retrofitted from an existing dairy plant. Image credit: PURIS
The 200,000 sq ft facility in Dawson, Minnesota, was retrofitted from an existing dairy plant. Image credit: PURIS

Related tags Puris Pea protein plant protein

PURIS - a key supplier of pea protein to Beyond Meat – has opened a new facility in Dawson, Minnesota that more than doubles its production capacity, and cements its position as the leading supplier of pea protein in North America.

PURIS​ ​– which has significantly expanded production at its pea processing plant in Turtle Lake, Wisconsin, in recent years – said the 200,000 sq ft Dawson facility (which was retrofitted from an existing dairy plant) will support continued growth for PURIS Proteins, a joint venture between PURIS and Cargill backed by a $100m investment from Cargill.

Once a niche ingredient, pea is now a key player in the burgeoning plant-based protein market (although in terms of acreage, it’s still light years behind soy), and capacity has been expanding rapidly, with Ingredion​ recently opening a facility in Nebraska; Roquette​​​​ opening a large facility in Canada; ADM​​​​ building a plant in North Dakota; Cosucra​​​​ building a new plant in Denmark and expanding production in Belgium; and several Chinese manufacturers expanding capacity.  

Major CPG companies including Nestlé​​​, Unilever​​​ and Danone​​​ have also made high-profile commitments to make plant-based options more accessible, affordable and appetizing, while a growing number of meat and dairy companies are making significant investments in animal-free alternatives, both through in-house brands and acquisitions/investments.

There are multiple applications for pea protein, which is gaining traction in everything from plant-based beef, pork, seafood, and chicken products (think Beyond Burgers, Lightlife's new chicken products, Nestle's 'Vrimp' shrimp alternative); to egg alternatives; plant-based dairy (think Ripple, NotMilk, Sproud, Danone's new Greek-style plant-based yogurts); plant-based protein smoothies and shakes (think EVOLVE, Koia); sports nutrition products and protein powders (think Vega, Orgain); and plant-based protein bars and snacks (think No Cow and SimplyProtein).

Using the whole crop…

Speaking at a panel debate hosted by Ingredion in the spring, Kees Kruythoff, chairman and CEO, LIVEKINDLY co, said sexy mission-driven startups are making plant-based eating more aspirational. However, engaging the world’s biggest CPG and foodservice companies will be key to accelerating the kind of change many activists want to see in the food system, he said: “Impact will come with scale​​.”

Caroline Bushnell, director of corporate engagement at the Good Food Institute (GFI), noted that to really move the needle on plant-based meat (which currently accounts for just 1% of the US meat market), prices have to come down, although taste is king.

Speaking to FoodNavigator-USA earlier this year, PURIS Proteins CEO Tyler Lorenzen, said: “Nothing reduces price more than scaling of overhead over more throughput. But we also have to use the whole crop, to valorize all parts of the crop ​​[beyond protein] and we’re not just talking about starch.”​​

Fiber is a particularly exciting opportunity, he added. “We’re working on a variety of higher-value ingredients, but fiber is hot.”​​

Pushing the envelope on flavor, functionality, sodium levels

PURIS is also seeking to push the envelope in terms of flavor and functionality, solubility, color, texture, and sodium levels in its core pea proteins, he said, noting that not all pea protein is the same, with meaningful differences between different suppliers.

Recent innovations from PURIS on this front include BITE+, a pea protein designed with high-moisture extrusion for meat alternatives; PURIS 2.0, designed for ready-to-drink beverages for a superior mouthfeel; and a low sodium pea protein boasting “85% less sodium than its standard counterpart and the leading competition.”

"PURIS 2.0 is our new, reimagined version of pea protein,​" Lorenzen told FoodNavigator-USA this morning. "It is everything you want in a protein and nothing that you don't. Our proprietary de-flavoring process creates a more soluble, creamy and neutral tasting pea protein that can be used in a wide array of applications, most notably high-protein beverages. Dairy has met its match with PURIS 2.0 ​[which PURIS will be showcasing at Supply Side West shortly]."

Tyler Lorenzen
Tyler Lorenzen: ‘We have to use the whole crop, to valorize all parts of the crop ...' (picture credit: PURIS)

Interested in plant-based meat, dairy, and seafood alternatives?

Checkout FoodNavigator-USA's FREE 'Disrupting the Meat and Dairy Case​' 3-part series, starting today:

Oct 13​​​ (10am PT/1pm ET)​​: Where next for meat alternatives? From plant-based burgers to fungi-fueled bacon -​​ featuring Kroger, Atlast Food Co, Nature's Fynd, Nowadays, Oterra, and Roquette​

Oct 20​​​(10am PT/1pm ET)​​: Where next for dairy alternatives? From oatmilk to ‘real’ cheese (minus the cows)​​​ - featuring Danone, NotCo, BioMilk, Change Foods, RSSL, and CP Kelco

Oct 27​​​(10am PT/1pm ET)​​: Where next for seafood alternatives? From tuna to shrimp​​​ - featuring the Good Food Institute, Good Catch, Ocean Hugger, New Wave Foods, and Aqua Cultured Foods.


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