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BENEO invests EUR 50 million in pulse-processing plant

BENEO announced a EUR 50 million investment in a new pulse processing site in Offstein, Germany. The site will produce protein-rich pulse ingredients for food and animal feed. It will focus initially on protein concentrate, starch-rich flour and hulls from Faba bean, with the option to process other pulses in the future. The new site will help BENEO to meet the growing demand for plant-based food and feed ingredients, according to the functional ingredient specialist.

Work has already begun on constructing the plant and is expected to be completed within the second half of 2024, creating up to 25 jobs at the Offstein site. However, to ensure that food and feed customers can benefit as soon as possible from Faba bean ingredients, BENEO will process the raw ingredients in intermediate production facilities, until the new plant is fully operational. This means that the first quantities of BENEO’s Faba bean ingredients will be available from the start of June 2022 onwards.

Christoph Boettger, Member of the Executive Board at BENEO: “The recent investment by BENEO into a new pulse production site is only the starting point. We strongly believe in plant-based ingredients and therefore see the new plant as an important first step in enlarging our protein offering moving forwards. This will enable us to produce a wider variety of sustainable plant-based protein ingredients over the coming years.”

Sustainability is among the main priorities for BENEO, the company said. Pulses help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at farm level. For example, Faba beans provide nitrogen for themselves and subsequent plants, with no need for nitrogen fertilization. The Faba beans will be locally sourced from farmers that are certified by the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative (SAI) and follow sustainability standards. BENEO adds that the production process here was chosen for its low energy consumption in comparison to alternative processes, to contribute to the company’s carbon neutrality and sustainability targets.

BENEO’s Faba bean protein concentrate and starch-rich flour will be used for protein-enrichment and texture improvement in meat and dairy alternatives, as well as (gluten-free) bakery and cereals. Faba bean hulls and starch-rich flour will be used in feed as a vegetal protein or fiber source for sustainable pet food, aquafeed and livestock nutrition.

The plant-based protein trend is here to stay, with Mintel predictions saying that, by 2027, 75% of all protein demand will be vegetal, while products using these proteins are expected to reach 11% CAGR between 2020-2027. There is also growing popularity for pulses, with pea and Faba bean considered the rising star ingredients of new product launches worldwide, having achieved a CAGR of 20% between 2016 and 2021 (Mintel, 2021).

Photo credit: BENEO