Speaking to FoodNavigator-USA at IFT FIRST 2022 in Chicago this week, Benson Hill Vice President of Sales Kip Underwood said bringing its new processing plant in Creston, Iowa, was the last piece of the jigsaw before moving to full-scale commercialization. production supported by 70,000 contract acres of soybeans planted and harvested in 2021.
The new facility – purchased earlier this year from ZFS Creston, LLC for $102 million – will process and produce the company’s line of ultra-high protein soy flour, TruVail, which contains post-crush protein levels by 60% to 65% (20% higher than typical defatted soy flour, depending on the company) while using 70% less water and 50% less CO2 emissions compared to protein production conventional soybeans, making it a more sustainable option for food and beverage manufacturers.
“The past two years have been spent building the business infrastructure necessary to bring TruVail to market. The Creston facility now gives us the manufacturing capability to process ultra-high protein soybeans,”Underwood told FoodNavigator-USA, noting that full-scale processing at the new facility will begin in January 2023.
But even without an industrial facility, Benson Hill made progress in its existing small operations in Indiana. According to its latest Q1 2022 earnings report, the company reported Q1 2022 revenue of $92 million, an increase of nearly 200% year-over-year, driven by growth in its ingredients segment with reported revenues of $66 million, a year-over-year increase of nearly 400%.
Sustainability at heart
Benson Hill touts its streamlined production process, which bypasses the water- and energy-intensive protein concentration step (due to the naturally high protein content of the raw material) as the foundation for its sustainable operations, which is an important part of the Benson Hill’s value proposition, noted Underwood, who said that outside of nutrition and taste, consumers are increasingly interested in the impact of their food purchases. food and drink on the environment.
Although not at the top of the list of concerns for most consumers who buy plant-based products (health remains the main purchasing driver), environmental concerns are slowly increasing year on year, according to a global industry survey by Euromonitor.
Available in two forms, a regular soy flour and a textured soy flour, TruVail can be formulated to complement a number of applications ranging from baked goods and tortillas to soups and cereals, but the company is very excited by opportunities in the plant-based meat sector. where Benson Hill has entered into an agreement with Kellogg to supply soy protein for its Morningstar Farms and Incogmeato brands.
“Knowing that MorningStar Farms is a key player in the plant-based food industry, we look forward to working together to make a meaningful impact,” said Bruce Bennett, president of Benson Hill’s ingredients business in a press release.
In international markets, Benson Hill has also partnered with protein producer Denofa to supply its soy protein to the European aquaculture feed market.
Construction supply for soy protein oil
The company is also seeing demand for its secondary product line, soybean oil, which is extracted during the processing of its soybean meal.
In response to the current volatility in Ukraine, which provides much of the world’s sunflower oil supply, and to meet the urgency of some customers who need a suitable alternative, Benson Hill has planted 10,000 acres additional soybean crops to produce more of its high-oleic soybean oil.
“Benson Hill markets a non-GMO project verified high oleic, low linolenic soybean oil, which we believe is an excellent alternative to sunflower oil which will experience very significant shortages in the world. last part of this year and in the future.”, noted CEO Matt Crisp during the company’s first quarter 2022 earnings call.