Roquette breaks ground on Manitoba pea plant

A $400 million pea processing plant in Manitoba should be operational by 2019.

Roquette, a family owned food ingredient company based in France, officially broke ground Thursday afternoon at a pea protein processing plant that it’s building in Portage la Prairie.

“This represents a major step in our development strategy in North America and in the plant protein business,” said Jean-Marc Gilson, Roquette’s chief executive officer, in a statement. “We are looking forward to offering our pea-protein products from Portage la Prairie, at the heart of Manitoba, to customers and consumers in America and worldwide.”

Roquette announced plans to build the pea processing plant, in Portage, back in January.

A few people in Canada’s pulse industry were puzzled by the plant’s location, because the majority of peas are grown in Saskatchewan. But overall the response has been positive.

“Expanding processing capacity (for) the western Canadian industry is good for everybody, is our view,” said Corey Loessin, Saskatchewan Pulse Growers chair, earlier this year.

“The market for protein is rising and it seems like a good opportunity for a company to come in and do more processing on the Prairies.”

Once completed, the pea protein plant is expected to employ about 150 people.

The facility will add to Portage la Prairie’s sizable food processing industry. The city already has a two french fry plants, operated by Simplot and McCain Foods.

“Roquette is a world leader in sustainable protein production,” said Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister, who participated in the groundbreaking ceremony. “Their historical investment in Manitoba will have a profound impact on our agriculture industry and the provincial economy.

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