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Branston starts work on new £6m protein extraction factory
Work has started on a new £6m facility, which will be used to extract high grade plant protein from potatoes, at Branston’s site in Lincolnshire.
UK potato supplier Branston is working alongside agri-tech company B-hive Innovations as part of a collaborative project to improve potato crop utilisation. The commercial factory is the first of its kind in the UK and will see the introduction of bespoke technologies and capabilities to meet the growing demand for UK grown plant-based ingredients.
The facility will convert low-value potatoes into clean-label functional protein, which can be used in vegetarian and vegan foods. It will also generate starch-based products for a range of manufacturing applications.
Richard Fell, managing director of Branston’s Prepared Foods division, said: “We’re delighted to be working with B-hive Innovations on this new venture. Most people are aware of potato starch and fibre in potatoes, but they don’t consider the highly nutritious protein fraction.
“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. They have developed a process to gently extract and isolate high-grade proteins from potatoes. This means 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.”
Branston has recently reported a steady sales growth to £196m in the 2019-2020 financial year, despite facing the challenges brought by the Covid-19 pandemic.
James Truscott, managing director at Branston, said: “Despite the second half of the year being affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, we are pleased to be reporting strong growth figures overall. We are very proud of our team’s response to the pandemic and the part we have played in keeping the UK fed. Although the industry did benefit from an increased level of sales during this period, the costs of running the business in a Covid-secure manner also increased.”