An industry source told FoodNavigator the strategic investment will reinforce the firm’s position in North America – one of the world’s largest markets for pea protein – as well as placing the starch supplier at the geographical epicentre of global pea production.
Canada is the world's largest producer and exporter of peas, accounting for close to one third of world supplies and well over half of world pea exports, according to the Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance.
More details – how much the deal is worth, the plant’s production capacity and the number of employees to be taken on - are to be announced in the new year.
It is understood the plant will be primarily focussed on pea protein but will have the capacity to add value to other components of the ingredient such as starch, fibre and co-products used in the feed industry.
Roquette has operations in over 100 countries worldwide, and already has processing facilities for corn in North America, but this will be its first pea protein plant in the region.
The Lille-headquartered company, whose current supplies of pea protein come from its factory in Vic-sur-Aisne, near Paris, reported a turnover of around €3.3 billion in 2015.
More peas, please
Pea protein isolates have been gaining a stake in the plant protein space along with other sources like algae, which Roquette also supplies, and soy.
It offers a clean label and ever-improving flavour and texture profile – and is allergen-free. It is also cost effective compared to some other proteins.
Neel Varde, senior product manager at the Roquette Innovation Centre in the US city of Geneva, told our sister site NutraIngredients at this year's IFT in Chicago: “Pretty much every food manufacturer you look at is asking about pea protein. Pea protein is at a tipping point, and customers are requesting it for everything, from dairy to bakery and meat analogues."