The agreement provides for an exclusive license in North America to process grain derived from Benson Hill’s ultra-high protein soybeans for ADM to produce and sell protein concentrates, texturized protein concentrates and high protein texturized flour, as well as protein isolate products in North America for the human food ingredient market.
With 20% more protein and a lower carbon footprint that conventional soy – due to simplified processing which bypasses the water- and energy-intensive protein concentration step – Benson Hill is aiming to address a glaring market need for higher-value plant-based protein ingredients, a market that’s poised to grow at a CAGR of 14% to reach $125bn by 2030, according to the company.
Target applications: 'Meat alternatives, meat extensions, alternative dairy...'
Under the initial 5-year partnership term, ADM said that it is targeting a wide range of product applications for Benson Hill’s UHP soy ingredients across the plant-based spectrum.
This includes “meat alternatives, meat extensions, alternative dairy, snack and bakery, and specialized nutrition,” Leticia Gonçalves, ADM’s president of global foods, told FoodNavigator-USA. Initial processing will begin in the fall.
“ADM will leverage Benson Hill Ultra High protein soybeans to manufacture soy protein concentrates, texturized soy protein concentrates and soy protein isolate – as well as high protein texturized flours,” she added.
Gonçalves added that the partnership is the latest step in a series of investments and commitments made by ADM to become leaders in the alternative protein space, which include the acquisition of Sojaprotein and the recent $300m investment to expand its soy protein concentrate production in Decatur, Illinois.
“Now, in strategic partnership with Benson Hill, we’re further expanding our value proposition for our customers, bringing the full value chain together from seed to fork and offering unique and differentiated products to meet growing alternative protein demand.”
“It represents a way to solve downstream food formulation challenges by creating ingredients that are made better from the beginning, and the collaboration will create a pathway toward commercial-scale seed-to-fork production of higher-value alternative protein products,” Benson Hill CEO Matt Crisp told this publication, adding that bringing ADM’s operational and logistical strength helps lighten the load of bringing its ultrahigh protein ingredients to market.
'Profitable by 2025'
ADM will utilize its current protein ingredient manufacturing capacity as well as its planned facility in Decatur, Illinois, to process Benson Hill’s proprietary soy ingredients. Benson Hill will expand its farming footprint in the US where it will collaborate with ADM’s existing network of US farmers.
“For Benson Hill, this strategic licensing partnership delivers on the strategic playbook we laid out with our investors and represents an asset-light model to commercially scale our soybean ingredient portfolio.”
In terms of scale, Crisp said while the company cannot disclose exact acreage of its current farming footprint he did share, “the capacity available in ADM’s human food and nutrition ingredient manufacturing would exceed the cumulative acres planted by Benson Hill since the launch of its proprietary soy portfolio.
"We believe this partnership represents a pivotal milestone that validates our strategic playbook and will meaningfully contribute to our commercial plan... including becoming profitable in 2025," added Crisp.