Benson Hill, Inc., a food tech company based in Missouri (US), has announced the launch of its advanced yellow pea breeding and commercialization program that will help further the company’s growth in the alternative protein segment.
The program will enable Benson Hill in the coming years to bring to the fast-growing plant-based protein market and the pet food/animal feed markets “a portfolio of enhanced, non-GMO yellow pea ingredients”, said a company statement.
One of the fastest-growing sources of plant protein, yellow pea is projected to be in high demand over the coming years as companies begin to move away from soy protein. It can be used as a key ingredient in alternative meat, alternative dairy or a health supplement. With plant-based meat alternatives market forecasted to reach approximately $140 billion by 2029, newer and more environment-friendly sources such as pea protein are likely to grow in demand.
According to Benson Hill, yellow pea has traditionally received very little genomic innovation and with its new initiative, the company will be well positioned to capitalize on this market opportunity as it continues to grow.
Through its yellow pea program, Benson Hill is working to reduce the development cycle for yellow pea varieties and shorten the time it takes to bring yellow pea ingredients to market. Its focus is on creating non-GMO yellow pea varieties that taste better, which could limit the need for additives, thus making the products cleaner.
The company is also looking at increasing yellow pea protein content, which could reduce the need for expensive, environmentally intensive processing steps required currently.
“There’s a misalignment between what consumers want from plant-based food products and what commodity ingredients can deliver today,” said Matt Crisp, Chief Executive Officer of Benson Hill.
“Our yellow pea program, combined with the analytical power and food science insights of CropOS®, will empower us to harness the natural genetic diversity within the plant and deliver more whole ingredients that offer great taste with fewer additives and significantly improved environmental benefits.”
With an emphasis on establishing sustainability best practices, Benson Hill is developing its pea varieties in the heart of North Dakota’s yellow pea growing region, which may provide to be advantageous for U.S. farmers, as existing yellow pea varieties have traditionally been optimized for growing conditions in Europe and Canada, rather than the U.S.
The company has also set up a coalition of elite growers to scale its commercialization efforts.
In May this year, Benson Hill announced that it’s going public by merging with a special-purpose acquisition company in a deal that values the plant-growing technology firm at $2 billion.