New factory will help meet demand for protein-rich, plant-based ingredients to go into vegetarian, vegan and flexitarian foods.
Work has started on a new £6m factory to extract high grade plant protein from low value spuds at a site in Lincolnshire.
Potato supplier Branston is working with agritech R&D specialist B-hive Innovations on the project to make the most of potato crops.
The new factory will help meet demand for protein-rich, plant-based ingredients to go into vegetarian, vegan and flexitarian foods.
The business, based in the village of Branston, just outside Lincoln, says it will convert low-value potatoes into good quality protein and also generate starch-based products for a range of manufacturing applications.
The project is being headed up by the newly appointed managing director of the Branston’s Prepared Foods division, Richard Fell, as a key part of his focus on transforming the Prepared business.
He said: “We’re delighted to be working with B-hive Innovations on this new venture.
“Most people are aware of potato starch and fibre in potatoes, but they don’t consider the highly nutritious protein fraction.
“B-hive Innovations has been honing this technology for a number of years, working with a group of academic and industry partners and supported by Innovate UK.
“They have developed a process to gently extract and isolate high-grade proteins from potatoes.
“This means we have the potential to meet the growing requirements from food manufacturers for 100 per cent plant-based protein that is free from allergens and is fully traceable from our UK grown crops.”
Branston is one of the UK’s leading suppliers of potatoes – supporting UK retailers and wholesalers nationwide – as well as providing seed for potato growers.
It has sites in Lincoln, Scotland and the South West, with Lincoln the home of its prepared foods factory.
B-hive Innovations, based in the Boole Technology Centre, was created by Branston as a stand-alone agritech business to solve the challenges facing the fresh produce industry.
It works in areas such as increasing crop yields, improving produce quality, adding value and reducing food and energy waste.