Minneapolis, MN - PURIS and Cargill recently announced a joint partnership to accelerate a new wave of sustainable and label-friendly plant-based foods to meet the growing demands for plant-based protein. We spoke to David Henstrom, Cargill’s vice president, starches, sweeteners and texturizers, and Tyler Lorenzen, PURIS's president, about the move and why they chose to do it now.

WF: What motivated Cargill to choose to partner with PURIS?

David Henstrom:It’s clear that PURIS is in alignment with Cargill’s vision to meet the growing demand for protein globally and to help customers deliver label-friendly products without sacrificing taste. PURIS is the leading U.S. producer of high-quality pea protein.  Cargill and PURIS share a commitment to their operating and ethical values.

WF: How does PURIS hope to support organic farmers within, say, the next five years?

Tyler Lorenzen:Everything starts from the soil up for PURIS. We have committed a lifetime of effort breeding better seed that works for our partner farmers’ soil. Peas are great within an organic rotation or double crop as they are short season, and nitrogen fixating, which means that they add more to the soil than they take. By giving organic farmers the right tools (like the cover crops we will buy back), they find paths to greater profitability and more reason to continue to grow more acres. This closed loop nature of our business secures the market for our partner farms, giving them a predictable business they can count on.

 WF: What products are using PURIS?

TL:You can find PURIS in a range of products from protein mixes, to ready-to-drink beverages, dairy-free milks, cheeses, yogurts, bakery, and of course, protein bars and snacks. We see pea protein being incorporated in all sorts of ways from ice cream to nut butters. Our focus is ensuring what's good for you comes with no compromise on taste.

WF: Provide a brief background on PURIS as a company.

TL:PURIS (then known as World Food Processing) was originally founded in 1985 as a seed company with big aspirations of becoming a fully integrated system of non-GMO and organic plant proteins grown and made in the USA. Today, that is exactly what we do. In over 30 years of commitment to USA and organic farmers, we have built a network of growers who feed our production facilities, and a customer base that satisfies consumer demands with flavorful and wholesome plant-based foods.

WF: Please expand on this where you can: PURIS has expanded their capabilities to provide not just pea protein, but pulses, and pea starch, syrup, carbohydrates, fibers, etc,. This translates as being able to help provide consumer demand for clean label ingredients for Cargill across the categories of food, beverage, snacks, bakery, dairy, confection, and sports nutrition.

TL:Peas are really cool. They are packed with protein but come with carbohydrates and fiber, too. We use our technologies to make pea protein taste amazing as well as all the other components (starch and fiber). Leveraging our clean label peas, we are able to make clean label ingredient solutions beyond just protein. For example, pea starch is an ultra-white, clean tasting carbohydrate that is used in applications where texture and functionality are key. By using our pea starch, food formulators can skip some of the more unappealing ingredients food eaters may not be so familiar with. Pea fiber is rich in dietary fiber and works wonderfully in bakery applications where you want to boost the fiber per serving to 5 – 7 grams. The bottom line for PURIS is that we must create solutions for all applications leveraging a clean source from seed-to-shelf.

For related story, seePURIS-Cargill announcement.