Branston, one of the UK’s largest potato suppliers, will begin production at its new “pioneering” potato protein extraction facility in early 2024.
The company is currently best known for its fresh potatoes, along with products such as French fries. But as demand for plant-based foods continues to grow, Branston plans to expand by producing protein for the food industry.
The construction of the site, which is described as the first of its kind in the UK, was first announced in 2021. At the time, Branston reported that it would invest around £6 million in the project, which will exclusively use potatoes grown in the UK. Ahead of the opening, Branston has hired a general manager, Tom Seagrief, to head up the facility. He returns to the company after previously joining the team as part of a graduate programme over a decade ago.
“The world is our oyster when it comes to the potential uses of potato protein, with the market for plant-based foods continuing to grow. I am thrilled to be part of the Branston journey as we fine-tune and scale up our operations to meet the demand for UK-grown functional protein,” said Seagrief.
Potato protein has various technical applications, including binding, gelatinisation, and emulsification. The ingredient can be used in a wide range of products, such as meat alternatives, baked goods, deli products, and more. Market research suggests that the potato protein industry is set to see significant growth in the coming years, largely driven by health-consciousness and a shift towards plant-based diets.
The Branston team first began investigating the most effective way to extract protein from potatoes in 2013. After ten years of research and development, the process has been scaled up from a lab-based level to a commercially viable operation.
“With the official factory opening due in early 2024, we’re focusing on recruitment to expand our highly skilled team. We’re also testing and optimising the final product, now in its pre-production phase, and working closely with potential customers to ensure we’re ready to gear up for full production,” said Seagrief.meat protein plant-based industry