The deal, for an undisclosed sum, "reinforces" Roquette as a "pioneer in plant-based proteins", the company claimed.
The facility benefits from a “unique expertise” in extrusion of plant-based proteins, especially pulse proteins, Roquette said. It will also increase the company’s production capacity and enable it to start selling textured pea protein ingredients produced in Europe into the US, Pascal Leroy, vice-president of Roquette's pea and new protein business line, told FoodNavigator.
“This acquisition will thus help us reach our goal and will increase our plant-based ingredient capacity,” he said but declined to quantify the added capacity.
“Roquette’s objective is to become the leading supplier of plant-based protein specialities by offering high-value nutritional, functional and sustainable solutions for food, nutrition and health markets. This new facility will secure the long-term availability of the current range of Nutralys textured pea proteins in Europe and will start to serve the American market.”
A ‘great opportunity’ to accelerate development
“In addition, this state of the art workshop will bring new innovation capabilities,” Leroy said. “This new asset is a great opportunity for Roquette to accelerate the development of its textured pulses proteins but also to better adapt the textured pulses proteins offer to a booming plant-based food market, where excellence in taste is a critical key success factor for consumers like flexitarians, vegetarians, vegans.”
The deal will also enable Roquette to expand in “different mixtures", the executive noted. “In addition to a unique expertise in extrusion of plant-based proteins, especially pulse proteins, this extrusion workshop is complete and polyvalent and will allow Roquette to expand different mixtures from plant-based raw materials to form different shapes and high-quality ingredients.”
Meeting growing demand
Driven by growing demand for products that are perceived as healthier and more environmentally friendly, the European alternative protein sector is witnessing strong growth. The European market for plant-based products is valued at €970 million with an average 7% annual growth rate, according to data from Euromonitor International.
Leroy confirmed that Roquette has witnessed increased interest in its alternative protein solutions: “We definitely observe a growing customer demand for plant-based proteins. With this acquisition, Roquette reaffirms its global leadership position in new plant protein specialities to respond to customers and consumers demands for alternative sources of protein in their diets.
“There is an increasing demand pulled by consumers that are more and more taking care of their diet, their health and the impact on the environment. The total protein demand is expected to double by 2054 driven by demography, economic development and urbanization, and new eating behaviours.”
In particular, he said the pea protein market is “very attractive”, Leroy noted. Roquette’s Nutralys branded ingredients are positioned as alternatives to soy- and wheat-based plant protein ingredients.
“Roquette respond[ed] to this booming demand for proteins by implementing a Pea Protein Expansion Plan. This acquisition is an important element of that plan and will accelerate the development of textured pulse proteins,” he commented.