The fully integrated soy protein concentrate (SPC) and textured soy protein concentrate (TSPC) facility is aimed to meet customer demands on key ingredients in the production of plant-based foods, processed meat, pet food, and feed products.
Soy protein concentrate is used to make meat alternatives but also helps to increase the nutritional value of existing meat and poultry products.
In recent years, the demand for meat alternatives has soared as dietary habits shift for health reasons and out of concern for animal welfare and environmental damage from livestock farming.
According to a report by Grand View Research Inc, the global plant-based meat market is projected to reach US$24.8 billion by 2030 hence this is a timely investment.
Bunge noted that the construction of the facility which will commence in the first quatre of 2023 and expected to be completed and commissioned in mid-2025.
In addition, the facility is projected to employ 70 full-time workers and increase the capacity of soybeans to an additional 4.5 million bushels.
Gregory A. Heckman, chief executive officer of Bunge, stated that the investment perfectly fits the industry as the world’s largest oilseed processor.
The facility is also expected to add significant scale, efficiencies, and non-GMO capability to the company’s existing US-based conventional SPC and TSPC operation in Bellevue, Ohio, US.
Mr. Gregory added that plant proteins are a natural extension of the industry as they lead in oils, fats, and specialty ingredient portfolios.
In addition, Bunge plans to contract with farmers to establish a traceable soybean sourcing program starting with the 2025 harvest.
Besides the proposed facility, Bunge had previously invested US$ 10 M to enhance its plant protein technical capabilities at the Creative Solutions Center near its St. Louis headquarters which opened in 2018.
The 2018 facility currently holds commercial pilots plants for alternative meat and dairy, processed meat, and beverages that complement its bakery and fry laboratories
In addition, the Creative solution center has a sensory testing facility, an extrusion laboratory, and a full-scale food service kitchen.