The food manufacturer, which handles 350,000 tonnes annually of potatoes, is to open the new facility at its Lincolnshire headquarters in partnership with RootExtracts Ltd, which has developed and refined the extraction technology. The building is almost complete and the company is currently finalising the design of the internal equipment.
The new factory will convert secondary grade low-value potatoes into functional plant-based protein, as well as generating starch-based products for a range of manufacturing applications.
Best possible value
Branston managing director James Truscott said the move is part of the ongoing challenge to get the best possible value from every part of the crop from the thousands of tonnes dealt with each year, ideally retaining it within the human food chain
“The Branston team has dramatically improved its use of the whole potato crop over the past few years – from creating value-added prepared products using outsize tubers and peeling the ‘wonky’ ones to utilising low grade material to generate electricity in its anaerobic digestion plant,” he said.
“And fitting perfectly with this drive to use the full harvested crop is the growing demand for UK-grown, clean-label and 100% plant-based ingredients, amid soaring sales of vegetarian and vegan food.”
Truscott said this was also another important step in the company’s evolution and commitment to net zero carbon.
“Potato protein also has a high level of functionality which provides solutions that are fundamental to food manufacturers and aids the recipe development process. For example, it’s a good choice for vegetarian food producers looking for the same binding qualities such as eggs,” he added.
“If you can generate a plant-based protein with good functionality that can be fully traceable and UK sourced and created, then you have got a very interesting product - we are extremely confident about its future success.”