Manitoba is now home to the largest pea protein plant in the world.
Roquette opened its 200,000-square-foot-plant in Portage la Prairie on Wednesday, which will be capable of processing 125,000 tons of yellow peas per year. The event was marked virtually in a news conference with Canadian Astronaut Chris Hadfield, a former Portage la Prairie resident.
“We see this as a transformational event in our history and a boost to the global plant-based food sector,” said Pierre Courduroux, CEO of Roquette, in a release.
“Diets have changed considerably in recent years, and the desire for alternative proteins continues to grow. Our company is proud to bring this amazing new facility online to serve demand in North America and around the world.”
Roquette calls it a plant-based food revolution as demand for pea protein is expected to grow annually by between 15 and 24 percent over the next decade.
The France-based company didn’t choose Portage la Prairie by chance for the location of their new processing plant. The region produces more peas than any other in the world, says Roquette, all within a day’s drive of the plant.
The new plant is now the largest player in the region, becoming known as the “Silicon Valley of plant-based protein.”
Jeremy Burks, senior vice-president of plant proteins at Roquette, says the pandemic has led to increased consumer demand for such plant-based proteins.
“This plant will help our customers move forward rapidly on product development,” said Burks. “The plant protein food sector needs investment, expertise and innovation to meet global demand, and Roquette brings it all.”