Pea protein surge: Cargill invests in Puris, the largest North American producer

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18 Jan 2018 --- With the rapid rise in consumer demand for plant-based protein, PURIS, the largest North American producer of pea protein, and Cargill have signed a joint venture agreement to accelerate a new wave of “great tasting, sustainable and label-friendly plant-based foods.” The joint venture is closed as of Tuesday (January 16, 2018). Cargill is a minority investor in PURIS’s pea protein business, with Cargill financially backing PURIS for growth into the future.

“With a world population expected to grow to 9 billion by 2050, and the demand for protein expected to rise with the population and their increasing incomes, Cargill is committed to growing our plant protein portfolio. This includes investing in, and growing, our traditional protein businesses, as well as exploring new opportunities for future growth, such as pea protein,” David Henstrom, vice president, Cargill Starches, Sweeteners and Texturizers, tells FoodIngredientsFirst. “Pea protein holds significant potential to gain rapid adoption due to its attractive sensory characteristics, nutritional profile, functionality, versatility in applications, and ability to meet consumers’ growing expectations for non-GM and organic protein options.”

Click to EnlargeIn 2017, 21% of all food & beverages launches tracked in the US with plant protein by Innova Market Insights featured pea protein. The ingredient still lags behind soy protein (61%), but it has been gaining ground and the gap in NPD is tightening.

PURIS (formerly World Food Processing) cultivates a spectrum of pure, plant-based foods and ingredients from US-based organic and non-GMO sources. Their end-to-end sustainable food system is claimed to ensure a wholesome journey from seed to solution. 

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PURIS President Tyler Lorenzen

PURIS pea protein business is built upon two production facilities located in Oskaloosa, IA and Turtle Lake, WI. These facilities handle large volumes of peas that are made into non-GMO & organic pea protein, starch, fiber and whole flours. The peas are sourced from their US farmers located across the entire Midwest and follow a traceable system from seed to shelf.

Henstrom calls PURIS a “game changer in terms of taste and vertical integration in pea protein.” “Cargill is excited to expand into the emerging pea protein space while continuing to support our conventional agricultural crops. It’s clear that PURIS is in alignment with Cargill’s vision to meet the growing demand for protein globally and to help customers deliver label-friendly products without sacrificing taste,” he adds. 

“Cargill’s financial backing and market reach will power significant expansion of our operation globally. We will add substantial capacity, including a second plant, while maintaining our focus on US production,” says PURIS President Tyler Lorenzen. “Cargill is investing in everything PURIS stands for, from our vertically integrated non-GMO pea seed development to our proprietary technologies and our commitment to US Certified Organic pea farmers.”
 
A growing number of consumers are looking for great taste, simpler labels and alternative sources of protein to solve their personalized nutrition choices. Manufacturers are turning to pea protein because of its functional and nutritional attributes. Pea protein offers a non-GMO, Certified Organic, allergen-friendly option that checks all the boxes consumers are looking for in label-friendly products. It’s also compatible with vegetarian and vegan lifestyles. PURIS Pea Protein is known for its superior taste and is produced from peas grown sustainably and manufactured in the US.
 
Tyler Lorenzen, President at PURIS tells FoodIngredientsFirst: “PURIS pulse based ingredients serve food makers across all sectors of the better for you food movement. Largely, PURIS Pea Proteins are found in protein beverages, bars, drinks and cereals. PURIS Pea Starch, (the other part of the pea) is used as a clean label starch that can be found in pasta, baked goods and savory snacks.”

Prior to forming this joint venture, Cargill maintained a distribution agreement representing PURIS pea protein to select customers since the end of 2015. “PURIS and Cargill had a distribution agreement related to PURIS Pea Protein these past two years. This distribution agreement evolved into a joint venture for a future where more clean label pea protein is needed to fuel a hungry marketplace for plant-based proteins,” Lorenz explained.

“With Cargill’s support, our plant-based ingredients become available to customers and consumers on a global scale,” said Lorenzen. “Our founder set out to feed the world in 1986. Now it’s coming true.”
 
By Robin Wyers

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