Roquette has partnered with Israeli firm Equinom to develop and source new pea varieties with high-protein content.
The French plant-based ingredients company will also invest, with Fortissimo Capital, $4 million in Equinom to support its further development. Israeli private equity fund Fortissimo is already a shareholder in Equinom.
Roquette said that through the collaboration it will become involved in “the cutting edge” of new non-GMO plant variety development, addressing industrial needs and consumer expectations.
Founded in 2012, Equinom is developing a portfolio of non-GMO legumes that have 50% more protein than varieties currently on the market, creating the conditions for a future worldwide shift towards a plant-based diet.
The company said it will use the investment to further develop products that are “essential to new food applications”.
Pascal Leroy, vice-president of Roquette’s pea and new protein business line, said: “This investment represents a great partnership and a major step forward in the implementation of the group’s strategy in plant-based proteins. It enables Roquette to position itself as a pioneer in the whole value chain for plant-based proteins.
“By contributing to develop new responsible and sustainable high-protein pea production thanks to this collaboration, we are demonstrating our goal of offering products increasingly tailored to the needs of food, nutrition and health markets, and to better answer a growing customer and consumer demand.
“We are delighted with this partnership with Equinom, a highly innovative company, which enables us to provide our customers around the world with high-quality plant-based ingredients.”
Equinom founder and CEO Gil Shalev said: “The agreement with Roquette is a major milestone for Equinom, and its investment in our company is a vote of confidence in our technology and its ability to transform the plant-protein market. The agreement will guarantee the full commercialisation of Equinom’s high-protein pea varieties.
“It will also facilitate the introduction of additional plant protein to market and enable Equinom to attain its mission of increasing the production of high-quality, sustainable food ingredients that are changing the types of foods consumed.”
Earlier this year, Roquette expanded its Food Customer Technical Service Centre in Tokyo in a response to rising local demand for plant-based proteins, fibres and healthy carbohydrates.