Leading potato supplier Branston has broken ground on a £6m facility in Lincolnshire that will extract high grade plant protein from potatoes.
The facility, the first of its kind in the UK, will take the protein from “low-value potatoes” and create starch-based products as well as utilize it in vegetarian and vegan foods.
Branston is teaming up with scientists and engineers at its agritech arm B-hive Innovations on the project, seeking to deliver technology-based solutions that meet the demand for healthier ingredients.
“Most people are aware of potato starch and fibre in potatoes, but they don’t consider the highly nutritious protein fraction,” said Richard Fell, managing director of the Branston’s Prepared Foods division. “B-hive Innovations has been honing this technology for a number of years, working with a group of academic and industry partners and supported by Innovate UK. We have the potential to meet the growing requirements from food manufacturers for 100% plant-based protein that is free from allergens and is fully traceable from our UK grown crops.”
B-hive innovations has been a key stand-alone business for Branston, helping the company tackle industry challenges while realising three goals: increasing marketable yield, enhancing produce quality, and reducing food and energy waste. Among its initiatives are a study that looked at how to reduce greening in potatoes, as well as lowering salt and sugar level in foods without shelf life or food safety concerns.