Plant & Bean, a British developer and manufacturer of plant-based food products, has announced that it will be opening the largest plant-based meat production facility in Europe. The new plant will enable brands to manufacture at scale in order to meet the fast-growing demand across the region and globally, with Plant & Bean set to open two more sites in the U.S. and Asia within the next two years.
The new 55,000-tonne-capacity factory in the Lincolnshire port town of Boston will provide sub-scale companies, large international brands and retailers with a fully-certified European production platform to scale-up manufacturing of their plant-based food products. The enormous 263,000 square metre facility will enable brands to shorten supply chains, lower costs and ultimately bring more accessible and affordable plant-based products to consumers.
Demand for plant-based proteins have surged this year amidst the coronavirus pandemic, which has spotlighted the vulnerabilities of the meat supply chain and the dangers of viral outbreaks in slaughterhouses, sending consumers from the U.S. to Hong Kong in search for safer, healthier and more sustainable options.
Right now, 65% percent of consumers do not eat plant-based meats due to price and quality. With our two-pronged approach, we believe we are best placed to make the meaningful change required to tackle these issues.Edwin Bark, CEO, Plant & Bean
Plant & Bean’s new factory, which will be the largest of its kind in Europe, will also serve as an “ecosystem of collaborative innovation” to bring scientists, food techs and research institutions together to improve the quality, taste and lower the cost of plant-based protein alternatives.
It has partnered with leading bodies across the alternative protein value chain, including non-GMO soy protein supplier Gushen; food development firm Griffith Foods; Wageningen University & Research, the research powerhouse driving the Dutch plant-based innovation space; and the sustainability-focused Singapore Institute of Technology.
“Today’s announcement underscores our commitment to repair what is a broken food system. Right now, 65% percent of consumers do not eat plant-based meats due to price and quality. With our two-pronged approach, we believe we are best placed to make the meaningful change required to tackle these issues,” said Edwin Bark, CEO of Plant & Bean.
Plant & Bean also announced its global plans to become an international plant-based manufacturing platform. It will be opening its U.S. factory in 2021, while its first Asia-based facility in China will be operational in 2022. After that, Plant & Bean plans to open locations in Thailand by 2023 and South America the year after, with each one of its overseas sites to have a production capacity of 25,000 tonnes per year.
There has been a realisation amongst the plant-based meat industry that if we’re to penetrate the mass-market, the speed of innovation needs to increase dramatically, and that no one company can do it alone.Edwin Bark, CEO, Plant & Bean
“With our progressive global manufacturing strategy, brands will finally have the means to scale high-volume product ranges in order to lower the price-point for consumers. As regards product quality, we are making huge strides in improving the taste, texture and appearance of plant-based meat – bringing together the brightest minds in the food industry to reinvent the way we make plant-based meat at the ingredient and process level,” Bark said.
Among some of the key innovation targets that Plant & Bean hopes to achieve with its collaborating partners is to reduce the cost of peas and beans by 50%, optimise protein extraction at a significantly lower cost, and improving extrusion technology to produce higher machine efficiencies, lower energy use and better texture in plant-based meat alternatives.
“There has been a realisation amongst the plant-based meat industry that if we’re to penetrate the mass-market, the speed of innovation needs to increase dramatically, and that no one company can do it alone,” explained Bark.
Lead image courtesy of Plant & Bean.