One of Europe’s largest coleslaw cabbage growers, Naylor Farms, has applied for planning permission to build the world’s first agricultural processing facility that turns cabbages into innovative functional plant-based protein ingredients.
Naylor Nutrition has perfected a unique, patent-pending, gentle cold extraction process that produces protein-plus functional ingredients from cabbages.
Naylor Farms produces 2,000 tonnes of whole cabbages, leaf and trimmings a week. The new process uses a mix of whole crop, quality trimmings and leaf and turns it into a highly nutritious plant-based protein-plus ingredient.
Sustainable food product
“It’s always been our ambition to utilise our whole cabbage crop and turn it into a highly nutritious and sustainable food product," said Simon Naylor, chief executive officer of Naylor Nutrition. "We have worked hard to develop and perfect a new gentle cold-extraction process which can be used to create a wide range of functional food products from protein plus ingredients.
"The world has a growing requirement and desire for quality, sustainable plant-based food and to deliver this, we will need to grow crops that have positive functional benefits but without the negative environmental impact that soy, for example, has.
"Cabbage on the other hand, is fully traceable from field to consumer, sustainable and relatively simple to grow with a high yield. This innovative facility is being built on our land so the food miles from field to processing are at a minimum.”
Alternative to pea protein
Pea protein which is used in plant-based foods such as burgers was currently under threat with droughts and wet harvests impacting on both the global price and availability of the ingredient, according to Naylor Farms. By contrast, cabbage-based protein is a sustainable, locally sourced, allergen- and GMO-free alternative.
The eco-friendly factory will be built on Naylor Farms land in Low Fulney Farm in Rangall Gate, Spalding and will create at least 150 skilled positions within the food supply chain.
Naylor added: “The plant-based market is predicted to be worth $74.2bn by 2027 so there is a huge potential to build plant-based extraction sites around the world in the next five to ten years. They will be able to repurpose a whole range of vegetables, not just cabbage, which will answer the world’s plea for healthy, sustainable plant-based food.”
The new building has sustainability and green credentials at its heart. It features rainwater collection and recycling, surplus heat from processing being used to heat offices and the creation of a meadow and small woodland area which will help naturalise the building and create a haven for fauna and flora.
It will be used as the main training centre for employees as-and-when future similar facilities (throughout the UK) are built and brought on-line.
As part of the commitment to clean and sustainable energy there will be electric charging points for vehicles as well as cycle-to-work schemes to encourage employees to cycle from Spalding and surrounding area.
Lincoln University will also be involved with the development and creation of an in-house learning and research centre at the factory.