Roquette pea protein
Roquette plants to invest more than C$400 million ($303 million) to build a pea protein manufacturing site in Portage la Prairie, Man.
Courtesy of Roquette

LA MADELEINE, FRANCE — Roquette plans to invest more than C$400 million ($303 million) to build a pea protein manufacturing site in Portage la Prairie, Man., which would give the company pea protein manufacturing sites in both North America and Europe.

The facility will have a processing capacity of more than 120,000 tonnes per year, said Pascal Leroy, vice-president and head of the pea protein business for Roquette, when plans were announced Jan. 18.

“It’s going to be the largest investment in a pea processing plant in the world so far,” he said. “With this new plant, we are going to be the leader by far in pea proteins.”

Roquette pea protein shake
Pea protein may be incorporated into protein powder mix drinks developed for sports nutrition and weight management.
Courtesy of Roquette

Roquette expects construction to start in the second half of 2017, subject to obtaining relevant permits, and production to begin in 2019.

La Madeleine-based Roquette already operates a pea protein manufacturing site in France that has a processing capacity of nearly 100,000 tonnes per year, Mr. Leroy said.

“This new investment in Manitoba marks a key step in reinforcing Roquette’s leadership position in offering high value plant-based ingredients around the world,” said Edouard Roquette, chairman of Roquette. “The new plant, which will be the largest dedicated to pea protein processing in the world to date, will support the future of Manitoba’s agriculture industry and help address the growing global demand for innovative food, nutrition and health products and solutions.”

Roquette pea protein pancakes
Roquette's pea protein may be incorporated into such applications as pancakes.
Courtesy of Roquette

Health-conscious consumers and sustainability are driving the demand for plant proteins such as pea protein, according to Roquette. The production of pea protein is friendly to the environment, and pea protein may work in such applications as gluten-free items, vegetarian food, sports and slimming foods, senior nutrition and clinical nutrition, according to Roquette. Mr. Leroy said snacks, nutrition bars, pasta, meat analogs and sports nutrition products are all potential applications.

Canada accounts for about 30% of the total global production of peas, according to Roquette. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, in its outlook for the 2016-17 crop year (Aug. 1, 2016, to July 31, 2017), said production of dry peas should increase by 51% to a record 4.8 million tonnes, with yellow pea types accounting for 4.2 million tonnes.

Roquette will process yellow peas, just like it does at the France plant, and make pea protein ingredients like those made at the France plant, Mr. Leroy said. The company offers Nutralys brand pea protein ingredients.

Jean-Marc Gilson, Roquette
Jean-Marc Gilson, c.e.o. of Roquette
“This investment confirms our commitment to the highly promising pea protein market,” said Jean-Marc Gilson, chief executive officer of Roquette. “We have been a pioneer in plant-based protein specialties with more than 40 years’ experience in research and production. This new site, together with our existing plant in France, confirms Roquette as the long-term leader in the plant protein specialties market worldwide, and it is a great example of how we are helping to meet customer and consumer expectations for innovative and sustainable plant-based solutions.”