The facility will convert low-value potatoes into clean-label functional protein that can be used in vegetarian and vegan foods. The process will also produce starch-based products for use in a range of manufacturing operations.
Branston will work alongside its stand-alone agritech business B-hive Innovations to deliver to new facility, which it claimed would be the first of its kind in the UK. Work is due to be completed by the beginning of 2022.
The project is being helmed by newly appointed managing director of the Branston’s prepared foods division Richard Fell as a key part of his focus on transforming the prepared business.
Fell was appointed by Branston in February to support the processor’s £12m investment into expanding its facilities. He joined the company from canned food specialist Princes, were he spent the past nine years in charge of business transformation.
Commenting on the project, Fell said that most people were unaware of the potential of protein alongside the typical by-products of potatoes processing, starch and fibre.
“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,” he added.
“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.”
Established in 1968, Branston supplies processed and unprocessed potato products to UK retailers and wholesalers nationwide, as well as seed for potato growers.
The processor began investing in the modernization of its Lincoln site in 2017, with the completion of a £6m upgrade of the factory that included a state-of-the-art grading system to improve efficiency.
Meanwhile, poultry processor Avara Foods has invested £1.9m in a new automated packing line at its Hereford factory as it announces the creation of 100 new jobs at the site.