PROCESSORS GIVE PEAS A CHANCE WITH MASSIVE INVESTMENTS
Investments in pea processing in Russia and North America are ramping up as demand for the humble vegetable increases, in part because of new foods it is being used in.
Russia is said to have the second-largest pea industry in the world behind only Canada, with total production last year reaching 2.74 million tonnes, about 1 million tonnes of which is exported.
Major firms are reportedly investing in new pea-processing facilities, among them Pineco in Moscow, which has pumped 24 billion roubles (€291.1 million) into a new plant.
Another company, Uralchem, has invested 300 million roubles (€3.6 million) in a pilot facility that will isolate protein from yellow peas.
In comments reported by specialist media, Kirill Kayem, senior vice president for innovation at the Skolkovo Foundation, which manages a research and development facility in Moscow, said yellow peas were very useful for obtaining “vegetable raw materials”.
“By processing it, you get pea starch and fibre. These products are widely used for the production of sports and dietary nutrition,” he told media representatives.
Peas are seen as an alternative to wheat or soya as a source of raw materials, although in Russia their use is primarily in the animal feed sector.
In North America and some other markets, there is growing demand for peas for plant-based meat substitute products among much else.
Last month saw the opening in the United States of a $100 million (€87.35 million) pea protein processing plant that will help a joint venture between Puris and Cargill supply about half of North America’s pea protein.
The new facility in Dawson, Minnesota is based in a former dairy plant and it processes yellow peas that are said to have high disease resistance.
Foods the pea protein is used in include bakery products, cereals, snacks and bars, as well as meat and dairy alternatives.
Among the meat substitute products made of peas is Vrimp, a vegan shrimp substitute recently launched by Nestlé.