DECATUR, Ill. (DTN) -- Food giant ADM and food tech company Benson Hill have announced a long-term partnership that will scale up production of ultra-high protein non-GMO soybeans. Through the collaboration, ADM will process and commercialize a portfolio of proprietary ingredients derived from Benson Hill Ultra-High Protein (UHP) soybeans through an exclusive North American licensing partnership.
Commodity soybeans typically contain 42% protein or less on a dry weight basis and yield soy flour under 55% protein. Benson Hill's proprietary soybeans can reach over 45% protein and result in soy flour that reaches 60% protein or higher. These higher levels of protein can eliminate the need to make protein concentrate, which saves energy and water.
The collaboration will scale production to meet growing demand for plant-based proteins and serve a variety of plant-based food and beverage markets, according to a news release (https://www.businesswire.com/…).
The two companies will also jointly engage farmer partners seeking opportunities to grow the specialty soybeans. Last week, Benson Hill CEO Matt Crisp was on a whistle-stop tour of soybean growing regions. He told DTN that contracted acres for the specialty soybeans would likely concentrate in Illinois, Indiana and Iowa with some acres in Nebraska, Missouri and Minnesota.
Crisp said these plant-based food efforts differ from what farmers may remember from the past. "We're linking interests of farmers with consumers and building a bridge in the food system," Crisp told DTN.
Seed innovation underpins the seed-to-fork movement by solving food formulation challenges in the farmer's field, creating ingredients that are better from the beginning, Crisp said in the announcement regarding the ADM agreement.
"This partnership with ADM represents a major milestone in advancing our business to its next stage of growth, which also will serve to broaden our proprietary product portfolio and drive significant scale of ingredients derived from Benson Hill genetics," he said.
"We are excited to partner with ADM to help address demand in high-value and high-growth protein ingredient markets, while broadly delivering innovation and impact across the agri-food value chain to benefit farmers, food companies and consumers."
ADM has a long history in soy-based foods and has also been increasing efforts in alternative protein markets. Leticia Goncalves, ADM's president of Global Foods, gave additional insight into the market in the news release.
"The global trends of food security and sustainability are driving significant and ongoing demand growth for alternative proteins: Alternative meat and dairy sales alone are expected to grow 14% a year, reaching $125 billion by 2030," said Goncalves.
"ADM has expanded global capacity to meet that demand with the acquisition of Sojaprotein and the recently announced investment to enhance processing and supply capabilities and build a new protein solutions innovation center in Decatur, Illinois. Now, working with Benson Hill, we're taking the next step, expanding our value chain and adding new technologies that will power our ability to offer differentiated, high-value products to meet consumer demand for delicious, nutritious alternative proteins."
Benson Hill previously launched the TruVail protein line https://truvailprotein.com/…. The company also previously announced a deal with Kellogg's MorningStar Farms, a plant-based food brand. Crisp told DTN that the quality of the ingredient was important. "But it was really the sustainability value proposition that made the deal work," he said. Creating nutritious food that tastes great and offers options is important, but what is driving this next wave is that it brings a better product together with sustainable growing and processing practices, he added.
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