Roquette Pea Protein Manufacturing Plant, Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, Canada

New pea production plant

Food ingredients maker Roquette has announced its plans to build a new pea protein production plant in Portage la Prairie, Canada.

The $304m facility will enable Roquette to meet growing demand for plant proteins in North America and worldwide. It will also strengthen the company's position as one of the leading pea protein producers.

Construction is expected to commence in the second half of 2017, with completion scheduled for 2019.

The plant is expected to employ 150 people when in operation, with an estimated payroll of $9m a year. The project is expected to generate 350 jobs during the design and construction phase.

Location details of the new pea protein plant

Canada was chosen as it is one of the world's biggest pea producing countries accounting for 30% of global production. The Manitoba region provides a number of advantages, such as highly-skilled and well-educated labour, as well as reliable and sustainable hydroelectric power.

Canada also has strong logistic infrastructure and is a well-connected transportation hub to the rest of the continent.

Construction is expected to benefit the agriculture industry in the chosen region, Manitoba.

Financing for Roquette's new plant

The Manitoba Government has awarded tax increment financing (TIF) of up to $6.82m for the project. This financing will help to cover site development costs.

Pea protein products at Roquette's new facility

Roquette's ingredients are available in the form of a powder and textured pea protein under the NUTRALYS® brand.

Products can be added to a range of vegetarian foods such as snacks, soups, sauces, pasta, biscuits, and meat analogues. Pea protein can also be added to sports and weight management foods, such as protein powder mix drinks.

Pea-protein processing at the new facility

Roquette uses its patented water-based process to extract protein from the yellow pea. The peas are first ground and converted into flour, which is processed using water to separate into various components.

Protein coagulates into a paste, when it is then solubilised. It is then spray-dried and granulated to enable easy blending with other foods.

Global pea protein market

Demand for pea protein is growing steadily due to an increase in consumer health consciousness, and a desire for healthier food and sustainability.

Pea protein is an excellent source of protein containing 85%. It can be added to a range of gluten-free items as it is not a major allergen, is easily digestible, and offers functional benefits such as high-solubility and low-viscosity.

In addition, pea cultivation is environmentally friendly, making it a sustainable protein source. The cultivation process does not use nitrogen fertilisers or chemical solvents and it achieves higher yields compared to animal protein.

Marketing commentary

Roquette began its operations as a family business in 1933 in France, extracting starch from potatoes. The company has now expanded to develop protein from maize, wheat, and potato.

Roquette commenced protein extraction with the establishment of the manufacturing site in France in 2003. The facility has a processing capacity of approximately 100,000t a year, which is sold to sports nutrition and health food companies.

By 2019, Roquette plans to have a processing capacity of up to 250,000t of locally-sourced peas, which will be split between the new Manitoba plant and its French plant.