WINNIPEG – Saskatchewan pulse processing company, Verdient Foods Inc., has entered into a joint venture agreement with American company Ingredion to expand operations. The Vanscoy, Sask. organic pea protein fractionation facility has been running since last year and the new agreement will see it expand operations to include more pulses.
“We’ve identified plant-based proteins as a high growth, high value market opportunity that is on-trend with consumers’ desire to find sustainable and good tasting alternatives to animal based proteins,” said James Zallie, Ingredion’s president and chief executive officer in a news release.
Ingredion announced the deal in December as part of a US$140 million investment in plant-based proteins. The announcement also included the expansion of Ingredion’s VITESSENCE Pulse protein isolate line. This will be done through the conversion of a soy processing facility in South Sioux City, Neb., which Ingredion bought last year, into a pulse processor.
The Verdient facility is run by PMC Management, which manages several processing ventures owned by Academy Award-winning film director James Cameron and his wife Suzy Amis Cameron. Saskatoon-based PIC Investment Group also has ownership of the plant. The facility was initially announced in 2017 and was online by 2018.
“(Ingredion) share our vision for plant-based proteins and other ingredients from pulses, and with their resources, expertise and worldwide reach, together we can be leaders in the new wave of global food production,” said James Cameron in the news release.
Ingredion is based in the suburbs near Chicago, Ill. and processes grains, fruits, vegetables and other plant materials into value-added ingredients for various industries. Its products are available in more than 120 countries.
According Verdient’s website, it plans to increase annual production volume to over 160,000 tonnes at the Vanscoy plant. In a news release on the latest partnership it said investments are being made within the existing facility to make pulse-based protein concentrates and flours from peas, lentils and fababeans for human food applications.
This isn’t Ingredion’s first business with the Saskatchewan pulse industry. In 2014, Ingredion signed a deal with Regina, Sask. based AGT Food and Ingredients to be the exclusive distributor of AGT’s pulse flours, protein and bran ingredients for its consumer foods and ingredient divisions.
However, the two companies recently agreed to end the exclusive distribution agreement. According to a media spokesperson with Ingredion, AGT and Ingredion “anticipate that a supply relationship may continue on a non-exclusive basis in the future.”