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August 28, 2019 12:30 PM, EDT

Agribusiness Giant Cargill Lifts Bet on Plant-Protein Craze

Cargill peas Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg News

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Cargill Inc., one of the world’s biggest agricultural companies, plans to spend an additional $75 million to expand in pea protein in the U.S. as traditional meat producers continue a shift to alternatives.

The investment in Puris, the largest North American producer of pea protein, allows output at a factory in Dawson, Minn., to more than double, Cargill said Aug. 28 in a statement.

Peas have become an unlikely star of the so-called flexitarian movement, marked by consumers looking to add protein from plant-based sources to their diets. Demand for such products, particularly fake burgers and sausages, is soaring, with a Barclays report predicting the sector will reach $140 billion in sales globally in the next decade.

Cargill

Beyond Meat Inc., whose popular plant-based burgers are made from pea protein, has seen the value of its shares increase more than sixfold since an initial public offering May 1.

Cargill, based in Minneapolis, announced a joint venture with Puris in January 2018 with an initial investment of $25 million used to add capacity at the Turtle Lake, Wis., production facility. Puris also has a factory in Oskaloosa, Iowa.

“This is the future of food,” Tyler Lorenzen, Puris president, said in the statement. The Dawson facility supports farmers “with a crop that regenerates their land and that is sustainable” while meeting expanding demand for plant-based products, he said.