PARSIPPANY, N.J. — Beneo announced it is investing €4.3 million ($5.5 million) in a new production plant for vegetal protein. The new plant is part of an existing BioWanze facility in Wanze, Belgium.

BioWanze is a subsidiary of CropEnergies, a manufacturer of sustainably produced ethanol. CropEnergies is a sister company of Beneo.

“We are seeing a big shift in consumer diets as an increasing number of consumers actively try to reduce their meat intake and seek out alternatives,” said Christoph Boettger, executive board member of Beneo. “Wheat protein was the most-used plant-based protein in new meat substitute launches in 2018, and we see great potential for this market in 2019 and beyond.

“We’re pleased to be working with our sister company, CropEnergies, and its team at BioWanze as a trusted partner in this exciting new development for our business. Through this significant investment and new production facility, Beneo can take its first steps in exploring the market for textured plant-based proteins to allow its customers to capitalize on this rising trend.”

Beneo’s textured wheat protein comprises wheat flour, wheat protein and water. With a neutral taste and stable texture, the ingredient may be used to replace meat in a wide range of traditionally meat-based products, such as burgers, nuggets and bolognaise sauce.