Plant & Bean, a developer and manufacturer of plant-based food products, is set to open Europe’s largest plant-based meat production facility in the UK. The new factory will enable efficient product manufacture and distribution across Europe, helping brands to meet fast-growing demand for plant-based meat.
Among Plant & Bean customers, large-scale production is acknowledged as essential to removing the cost barrier that currently prevents mainstream consumers from buying plant-based meat products. By producing at scale, locally, these brands can also significantly shorten supply chains, resulting in significant cost-savings.
Located in Boston, Lincolnshire, the 65 acre / 263,000 m2 site, will have a planned initial capacity of 55,000 tonnes, and will provide sub-scale companies, larger international brands and retailers with a fully-certified European manufacturing platform to help them meet growing demand for plant-based meat products and accelerate international expansion.
In a move to establish the world’s first global plant-based manufacturing platform, Plant & Bean will replicate the new UK site with production facilities in the USA next year, and Asia in 2022.
As well as manufacturing, the other key pillar of Plant & Bean’s business model is its ‘ecosystem of collaborative innovation’, which brings together global research institutions and food-tech companies to drive technological development in order to improve the quality and lower the cost of plant-based meat products.
Plant & Bean has revealed new strategic partnerships with global food product development company, Griffith Foods; specialised manufacturer and ingredient supplier of premium NON-GMO soy proteins, Gushen; and world-renowned research institutions, Wageningen University & Research (The Netherlands), and the food and sustainability focused Singapore Institute of Technology.
Leveraging this network, the company is set up to partner with international brands seeking to develop and innovate their plant-based product ranges with new high-quality, low-cost options.
“[The] announcement underscores our commitment to repair what is a broken food system,” says Plant & Bean CEO, Edwin Bark. “Right now, sixty-five 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.
“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.”
In order to drive innovation, bring down ingredient and processing costs, and increase product quality, the company is working closely with its ecosystem of collaborative partners to make breakthroughs in key areas.
With pea protein costing twice that of soy, this includes the development of computational breeding technology to achieve a 50% reduction in the cost of peas and beans. Plant & Bean is also working on optimising protein extraction, enabling it to extract multiple protein sources at a significantly lower cost. In addition, the company is working with its partners to improve texture generation, focusing on improved extrusion technology to drive higher machine efficiencies, lower energy use and better plant-based meat textures.
“In the past year, I believe there has been a realization 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,” continues Bark.
“Our collaborative approach has garnered significant interest across the food ecosystem, and we will continue to grow our network of industry-leading expertise in order to achieve this objective. This will be key to creating delicious, healthy, low-cost, plant-based meats that are accessible to everyone. In doing so, we will achieve our foremost objective to improve global health, the biodiversity of the planet and animal welfare, and having a meaningful positive impact on the world we live in,” he concludes.
Formerly known as the meat-free division within Brecks Foods, Plant & Bean has a 20-year proven track record of developing plant-based meat products for market-leading brands and retailers.
Cllr Nigel Welton, Deputy Leader of Boston Borough Council and Portfolio Holder for Economic Development, said: “Plant & Bean has huge ongoing success stories in the growth of their company, a business at the global forefront of its sector.
“We are pleased to be welcoming them to our town and supporting them through their investment for growth initiative and creating more jobs in this area.”