ST. LOUIS — Benson Hill, a food technology company, on Sept. 21 held the grand opening of its headquarters in the 39 North innovation district in St. Louis. The 160,000-square-foot facility will house experts in plant biology, agronomy, data analytics, machine learning and food science.

Benson Hill seeks to tap nature’s genetic diversity to create more healthy and sustainable options that benefit farmers, food companies and consumers.

“Today celebrates a milestone on our journey to move food forward,” said Matt Crisp, chief executive officer of Benson Hill. “While this new space provides our growing team with a safe, collaborative and inspiring workspace, it is also a visible symbol of our commitment to, and collaboration with, the broader innovative community working to advance food production. It reflects our ability to turn promise into progress and make more healthy, great-tasting and sustainable food choices accessible to everyone.”

The facility also features outside collaboration spaces, individual wellness and focus rooms, unisex restrooms, a gym, and a micro-mart. A plasma ionization air filtration system eliminates airborne viruses.

US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue attended the ceremony, which was broadcast virtually to most Benson Hill employees and stakeholders because of COVID-19.

“I’m intrigued by what Benson Hill is doing to link production and consumption in a transparent way,” Mr. Perdue said. “Consumers are becoming more sophisticated, and we must continue to develop more products that meet their needs for flavor as well as health to benefit the whole body. It was fascinating to see all the talent Benson Hill has convened here, and I’m excited to see where they will go from here.”

Benson Hill led the agriculture industry in creating high-protein soybeans that potentially could replace soy protein concentrate, which would reduce water-intensive processing steps to improve the sustainability of feed and food ingredients. The new soybean variety has up to 50% more protein than current varieties, according to the company.

Benson Hill operates Cloud Biology, which is a culmination of data, machine learning and artificial intelligence techniques (AI) with biology, and the CropOS platform, which is a proprietary platform designed to facilitate the accessibility of Cloud Biology.