Know Your Peas: Company to Trace Supplies Back to Farm

(Bloomberg) -- Pretty soon, you’ll be able to know exactly what farm the pea you’re eating came from.

Roquette, a food, nutrition and pharmaceutical ingredient company, is building a pea protein plant near Portage la Prairie, Manitoba. While the plant won’t be running until the second half of 2020, the company has already started work on tracing the crops that will get processed there.

“It is kind of a trial run to make sure that everything runs smoothly for the 2020 growing season, when our plant is up and ready to receive the peas,” James Bozikis, head of communications and public affairs for the Americas for France’s Roquette, said in a phone interview.

Consumers, especially millennials, have been showing more interest in knowing where their food comes from. Supply tracing helps give insight to consumers that want to know that they’re eating products that were grown safely and sustainably. Demand for peas has increased amid the craze for alternative sources of protein. Canadian farmers may end up planting more of the crop to meet demand from the new processing plant.

Know Your Peas: Company to Trace Supplies Back to Farm

Roquette has partnered with Canadian farm data management company, Farm at Hand, and grain souring company eGrainDirect, which uses Trimble Ag software, to trace yellow peas from the field to its processing plant. Farmers taking part in the test-run this year have been given a free yearlong subscription to Farm At Hand to keep track of their crops. These producers will also get the first crack at production contracts next year with Roquette.

The Canadian trial program this year is meant to work out any kinks, and future collaboration with the partners will be reviewed.

Roquette already operates a pea-protein plant in Vic-sur-Aisne, France. With the addition of the Canadian plant, the company will have a combined pea-processing capacity of about 250,000 metric tons per year, making it the largest globally. The French unit already has a supply-tracing program in place.

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