BENEO, one of the leading manufacturers of functional ingredients, has invested 4.3 million Euro into a new production plant for vegetal protein in Wanze, Belgium. The opening of the new facility was officially announced at an inauguration ceremony on Friday 1st March 2019 to mark the occasion. The plant is part of the existing BioWanze factory, a modern biorefinery producing food, feed and ethanol.
BENEO offers functional ingredients derived from chicory roots, beet sugar, rice and wheat. BENEO’s textured wheat protein comprises wheat flour, wheat protein and water. With a neutral taste and stable texture, the ingredient can be used to replace meat in a wide range of traditionally meat-based products, such as burgers, nuggets and bolognaise sauce. BENEO is a division of the Südzucker Group that employs more than 1000 people and has production units in Belgium, Chile, Germany and Italy.
The move comes following growing demand for plant-based proteins worldwide as consumer interest in meat-free alternatives continues to rise. Christoph Boettger, Executive Board Member at BENEO, commented: “We are seeing a big shift in consumer diets as an increasing number of consumers actively try to reduce their meat intake and seek out alternatives. Wheat protein was the most-used plant-based protein in new meat substitute launches in 2018 and we see great potential for this market in 2019 and beyond.”
The new facility will be operated by BioWanze, a subsidiary of CropEnergies, the leading European manufacturer of sustainably produced ethanol. Its biorefinery in Belgium utilizes the entire raw material to produce high-quality food, feed and fuel with no waste.
Boettger continued: “We’re pleased to be working with our sister company, CropEnergies, and its team at BioWanze as a trusted partner in this exciting new development for our business. Through this significant investment and new production facilty, BENEO can take its first steps in exploring the market for textured plant-based proteins to allow its customers to capitalise on this rising trend.”
André Tonneaux, Director of BioWanze, said: “We look forward to working closely with BENEO as we embark on this new joint venture to produce plant-based proteins. As well as expanding production capabilities, this investment will secure future growth and open up important employment opportunities here in Wallonia.”