Keeping The Pulse of The Plantbased Supply Chain at Buhler North America

The Plantbased Business Hour

LIVE from Buhler! Daniel Kennedy, Global Business Development Director, Plantbased Protein at Ingredion, Scott Cowger, VP National Sales Manager of CII Foods, Brett Featherston, VP Global Sales of Evanesce, and Andy Sharpe CEO/President, North America of Buhler join me live from Buhler North American HQ to discuss the lifecycle of plant protein, the newest innovations and more on The Plantbased Business Hour.

Specifically, we discuss,

    1. Daniel’s thoughts on the big ingredients that are taking center stage,
    2. Scotts views on if companies should find co-manufacturers or build their own facilities to protect IP,
    3. Brett’s take on plant-based, sustainable, biodegradable and durable packaging, and
    4. Andy’s predictions for cultivated meat.

Below is a transcript of a short clip from our conversation.

Elysabeth: Daniel, thanks for being with me. Ingredion recently invested big in plant-based proteins. This year you opened a plant-based Pea ingredient plant in south Sioux City, Nebraska. It opened in March of this year. Is Pea the big ingredient you’re betting on and what else might be coming down the pipeline?

Daniel Kennedy: Pea is one of our biggest bets but we are still betting on faba/fava and chickpea as our other bases. So we actually just opened up our new facility which is kind of a revamp of our investment in divergent foods. So we are pivoting in adding Pea, very clean tasting faba/fava and chickpea protein, which we call ultra-performance because not just flavor is coming from this, but it’s also a process that is going to make it easier to use for manufacturers, with less microload and better performance. And so on top of Pea, we’re looking at faba/fava as kind of our next base to go along with Pea to optimize performance for consumers. Along with that we are also looking at quinoa and lentils as well as some future bets for our product portfolio.

Elysabeth: I want to bring on Scott Cowger, thanks for being here. You are the national VP of Sales. How do you protect IP?

Scott Cowger: Obviously, you start with the whole NDA process and then the way that we handle it is that every customer is unique. So, therefore, their screw configuration is unique to them and their formulas are unique to them. The one IP I hold to my chest is that no screw configurations are certain with customers. You talk about scaling up. Expertise and knowing how to achieve certain texturization of different products and proteins are important, too. And there’s challenges with each different protein, as well from wheat to soy to pea to chickpea to fava/faba, even recently to mungbean.

Elysabeth: Yeah I’ve been seeing a lot of mungbean out there which is very interesting and water lentils, duckweed is out there, too.

Scott Cowger: Yeah, actually we’ve started some initial conversations on duckweed,  too.

Elysabeth: I’m so excited about my next person here, Brett Featherston, thank you for being with me.

Brett Featherston: Happy to be here.

Elysabeth: You have innovative patented technology that is sustainable packaging made from upcycled food waste. It’s about time!

It costs almost half of other eco-friendly alternatives. It has no PFAS, no PBA, or any other synthetic polymers. It decomposes into soil in 90 days or less but it has a shelf life of two years. It has innovative biobased coating and it’s heat proof and leak resistant both microwave and oven safe. How is that possible?

Brett Featherston: Well, it’s a little bit of magic. Our goal is to replace Styrofoam or EPS expanded polystyrene. So we’ve come up with something that has similar characteristics and properties to it, but it’s 100% plant-based and 100% compostable. Everybody wants to be sustainable, but to do it where it’s affordable. We can do it now and make it affordable for our customers.

Elysabeth: Okay, we are on our last stop here on the Buhler train, as we bring in our president and CEO of Buhler North America, Andy Sharpe. If I’ve got this right in the innovation hub, the vision isn’t really to make the products but to give the structure or the space to innovators to try to figure it out, because we don’t quite have the answer yet to cultivated meat, is that right?

Andy Sharpe: Yep. As far as I understand it, it is that we want the position to be an accelerator, so we can go from startups all the way through to benchtop trials.  So they can go all the way through to small-scale industrial is about where we think it will end up on this. So we can prove principles, so we can see what’s going on and see if we’ve got a viable product and see if consumers are going to adopt it and go from there. So, it is a bit of a different stance to the one you see here in Minneapolis at the moment with the food application center.


New episodes are out every week. Never miss the Plantbased Business Hour or Minute. Subscribe on iTunes and Youtube, and sign up for the newsletter. Follow Elysabeth on Linkedin. For information on Plant Powered Consulting, click here.

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