Plant Based Burger Commodities
The markets are closed today, so we are going to revisit a topic from last week. We reported that U.S. farmers are not yet seeing better prices for peas, despite being the number one ingredient in the plant-based burger.
The ingredient itself is pea protein isolate, so those peas need to go through a process called fractionation. Many of the plants that process peas are in China.
Chuck Penner from LeftField Commodity Research says this presents a challenge for North America pea producers.
Penner…”Well, that's the challenge especially in North America. The products are fiber, would be one of them. But the other big one is starch. Starch is the largest by-product. So the typical protein on peas is somewhere between 20% and 25%.Then the rest is starch and fiber. In China, again, where they are doing this kind of work. the starch goes into all kinds of food products like noodles and buns and all types of things. Then the protein used to be actually the byproduct. But now it's of course gained a lot of value. Now that protein from China is coming back into North America. So the peas are shipped to China, the protein comes back to our users here and made into, into burgers here - plant leaves, burgers here.”
If starch and protein end up in food, where does the fiber go? Animal feed. Guess we still need those cows after all.