Pea protein, sports nutrition
Demand for plant proteins for human nutrition is growing.

Pea protein entering the game

Roquette, which is headquartered in La Madeleine, France, has announced a C$400 ($306) million investment to build a pea-protein manufacturing site in Portage la Prairie, Man., in order to address the growing demand for plant proteins in North America.

Roquette’s investment will reinforce the group’s leadership in plant protein, the company said. It also reaffirms the company’s strategy to develop specialties for food, nutrition and health markets and to accelerate its global growth. The new industrial unit will expand Roquette’s pea-protein production capacity and help address the growing customer demand for plant-based proteins.

The new site is strategically located in Canada, the world’s largest producer of peas, with around 30% of the total global production.

Construction is expected to start in the second half of 2017. Production is expected to begin in 2019. Upon completion, Roquette’s site in Portage la Prairie is expected to employ around 150, mostly recruited locally.

The pea protein market is attractive, and demand for plant proteins for human nutrition is growing tremendously, driven by health consciousness, consumer concerns and sustainability, Roquette said. Advantages pea protein offers cited by Roquette include high protein content, and suitability for numerous applications in gluten-free foods, vegetarian foods, sports and weight management foods, senior nutrition and clinical nutrition.

“This new investment in Manitoba marks a key step in reinforcing Roquette’s leadership position in offering high value plant-based ingredients around the world,” said Edouard Roquette, chairman of the company. “The new plant, which will be the largest dedicated to pea protein processing in the world to date, will support the future of Manitoba’s agriculture industry and help address the growing global demand for innovative food, nutrition and health products and solutions.”

Brian Pallister, Manitoba Premier, added, “We are pleased to welcome this historic partnership with Roquette, which will result in an unparalleled investment in Manitoba’s food processing and agricultural industries. This new facility will create jobs and establish stronger markets for Canadian farmers while benefiting our province’s economy for decades to come. It also demonstrates to Canada and to the world that our province is open for business and ready to compete for investments in agricultural production and innovation.”