German sugar refiner Nordzucker plans to invest over €100 million in plant-based protein production.
The facility is expected to commence operations by mid 2026 and will see the creation of around 60 jobs.
Lars Gorissen, chief executive officer of Nordzucker said, "Plant-based nutrition will play an increasingly important role in the future. The market is growing rapidly. With plant-based proteins, we see a great opportunity to participate in this future market.
"We are supplementing our portfolio with a product that fits in well with our core competences and are thus consistently pursuing our growth strategy."
The company believes that its entry into plant-based protein production will bring 'attractive prospects' in view of changing eating habits.
Jochen Johannes Juister, chairperson of the supervisory board of Nordzucker AG added, "The market has enormous potential, Nordzucker has the expertise and close links to growers. The supervisory board, therefore, sees excellent growth prospects and is convinced of the company’s investment."
Nordzucker will source yellow peas from regional cultivation as it meets the requirements for economical and sustainable production.
The company added that it has no plans for products for end consumers.
Chief operating officer, Alexander Godow said, "Thanks to our roots in agriculture, we are able to reliably supply our customers with large quantities from regional and sustainable cultivation and in consistently good quality."
Construction of the production facility in Groß Munzel will commence in the autumn of 2024.
Besides existing infrastructure, the transport links at the site will give Nordzucker access to raw materials from various arable farming regions and route to various sales markets.
"We expect double-digit growth rates per year in the pea protein concentrates and texturates segment. That is why we are now also setting a fast pace in terms of implementation," said Alexander Bott, the chief financial officer of Nordzucker.
In May of this year, Nordzucker reported a 116% surge in annual profit, benefitting from high sugar prices, and said it is optimistic it will achieve good results in its new financial year.