Roquette, the world’s largest producer of pea proteins, responds to devastating drought in Canada. Benson Hill completes a business combination with Star Peak. Full Wrap by Lord is crowned the Future Food-Tech Kraft Heinz Innovation Challenge winner. Burger King launches plant-based chicken nuggets in partnership with Impossible Foods.
Nicole Astra: Welcome to Talking Plant Protein. I'm Nicole Astra, and this is trending news. After the worst drought in a century, Canadian pea producers are facing availability challenges. At the same time, France is also experiencing a low yield due to damaging wet conditions. According to Mintel, pea protein is the fastest growing plant protein used in global alternative products. Many major plant-based meat producers, such as Beyond Meat, Nestle and Tyson rely on pea protein as a key ingredient to their formulations. Ultimately, this supply shortage will inevitably affect consumer wallets. We sat down with Jeremy Burks, senior vice president of Plant Proteins for Roquette, to get his thoughts on this unprecedented situation, and what Roquette has been working on to limit this impact
Jeremy Burks: What's important to know is this is a short term issue, and we've been really investing for the long term here. We take the short term of course, very, very seriously, but our investments are more for the long term. We've worked on our own growing programs. We have our own agronomists. We have our own farm. We're looking at techniques. We're looking at making sure that the supply of pea for manufacture of pea protein is there, it's enough for today and for the years to come.
The good news is we've been here working with farmers for quite some time on preparing for the startup of our plant in Portage la Prairie here in Manitoba. And what that's allowed us to do is to make sure that we've secured the material that we need to fulfill our production. That's very, very important that we have that. The other thing that we are doing is because we've made investments in plants close to the grain locations, we've shortened supply chains. And that has also had the effect of mitigating some of the big cost increases that are inevitable.
Nicole Astra: The ink is finally dry on the business combination of Star Peak and Benson Hill. Star Peak changed its name to Benson Hill and the agreement converts Benson Hill to a publicly traded sustainable food technology company. Matt Crisp, CEO of Benson Hill, said, "Completing the business combination with Star Peak is a critical milestone on our journey to leverage our crop OS technology platform and our integrated business model, and to build a healthier and climate-resilient food system."
Commenting on the appeal of Benson Hill, Mike Morgan, chairman of Star Peak said, "With its crop OS food innovation engine, well capitalized balance sheet, and pure play ESG investment characteristics, Benson Hill is ideally positioned for rapid growth as it powers the plant-based food revolution and plays a near-term foundational role in meeting the fast growing demand for plant-based meat alternatives."
A big shift in the fast food world, Burger King this week is testing out Impossible Foods' meatless nuggets. The move comes as the cost of traditional chicken meat continues to rise, and the product is becoming increasingly difficult to find. The meatless nuggets are being tested out in Des Moines, Boston and Miami. Two years ago, Burger King also partnered with Impossible Foods to launch its first meatless burger at a fast food chain.
Full Wrap is crowned the winner of Future Food-Tech's innovation challenge with Kraft Heinz. Kraft Heinz challenged innovators to unlock the power of beans with solutions that bring beans or pulses as an application or ingredient to the menu of its consumers. Over 120 innovators from around the world submitted their solutions. After an in-depth review and judging process, the team at Kraft selected three finalists who presented their solution to the Kraft Heinz judge and summit audience at Future Food-Tech on September 30th. In the end, Full Wrap took home the win with their innovative gluten-free tortilla made of sprouted legumes that is flexible, easy to use, and full of whole protein.
Reflecting on the winner, Erik-Jan Ransdorp with Kraft Heinz shared, "The winner is Full Wrap. In particular, the use of sprouting to reduce negative side effects of bean consumption were highly appreciated by the jury. A natural process to unlock the power of a natural product like legumes is hugely relevant in the marketplace globally, super on trend, and a wonderful breakthrough idea." I'm Nicole Astra, for Talking Plant Protein, and that's your trending news.