Propelling pea protein: Roquette invests in Daiz to boost plant-based portfolio
24 Jan 2023 --- In a move highlighting the continued popularity of pea protein, Roquette has invested in Daiz, a Japanese start-up that has developed the means of using plant seed germination and an extrusion process to enhance the texture, flavor and nutritional profile of plant-based foods.
While initially developed for soy, Daiz’s proprietary technology will be applied to pea as part of Roquette’s plant-based, pea-heavy portfolio expansion.
Financial details of the investment were not disclosed.
The companies will explore a new approach of selective plant-based protein cultivation through seed germination techniques to develop further meat alternatives.
This follows Roquette’s opening in late 2021 of the world’s largest pea protein factory in Canada, the largest pea-producing region in the world, in efforts to scale the “Silicon Valley of plant protein.” Roquette also has a production facility in Vic-sur-Aisne (France), the largest pea protein plant in Europe.
Tsuyoshi Ide, president and representative director of Daiz, highlights the value of pea protein in producing meat alternatives.
“Pea protein is an indispensable ingredient for plant-based meat alternatives that are expanding in Europe and North America,” he says.
“Through the partnership, we anticipate that Daiz’s germination technology, called Ochiai Germination Method JP-5795679, will be able to contribute to the further enhancement of functionalities of pea protein to the market of plant-based meat alternatives and beyond.”
Pierre Courduroux, CEO of Roquette, hopes this investment will further strengthen Roquette’s position within the pea and plant-based protein space.
“This investment in DAIZ reflects our commitment to developing plant-based ingredients,” he explains.
“It comes a year after we opened the world’s largest pea protein plant in Canada and adds to our Nutralys plant protein range extension in organic pea and rice protein. We have also continued to build capabilities to co-develop with our customers and scale new plant protein ingredients.”
Pea space continues to boom
The pea market has recovered from droughts that struck Canada in 2021, which caused a drop of 45% in production and a 120% increase in price compared to 2020.
Building on this recovery, 2022 proved to be a big year for pea proteins, with various players either entering or further investing in the space. That year, Roquette reported demand for pea protein was booming, with multiple industry estimates expecting an annual global growth rate between 15 and 24% over the next decade.
Last year, Merit Functional Foods revealed Peazazz C, its high-protein pea ingredient with a grit-free texture and without sedimentation with formulations in proteinous ready-to-drink beverages. At the same time, Cargill expanded its RadiPure pea protein in the Middle East, Turkey, Africa and India.
PGP International, a division of Associated British Foods Ingredients, unveiled Prolifica, a range of texturized pea proteins that offers food manufacturers more textural, shape and protein content versatility in the development of plant-based products.
Advancements also were made in enhancing the performance of pea protein, with seed breeding specialist Equinom announcing its AI solution to boost the crop’s ability to deliver desirable traits optimized for food applications, including high protein content. Similarly, Pressure BioSciences revealed a new shear technology to blend pea with dairy proteins in a fully emulsified hybrid milk suspension – overcoming a “historic challenge” in plant-based drink formulation.
Ap-pea-ling to consumers
According to Innova Market Insights, plant-based offerings will continue to appeal to consumers as they exhibit behavior toward “Redefining Value” and seeking “Affordable Nutrition,” according to Innova Market Insights Top Ten Trends for 2023.
As part of its plant-based offerings, Roquette produces Nutralys, marketed as the “widest range of pea protein ingredients available.” The range includes 16 textured pea protein ingredients, with potential applications such as ground meat, burgers, meatballs, sausages, nuggets and fish sticks.
By James Davies
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