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Global agribusiness giant Archer Daniels Midland Co (ADM) and US food technology company Benson Hill have announced a long-term strategic partnership to scale up soyabean ingredient production in a bid to meet a rising demand for plant-based proteins.

As part of the collaboration, ADM would process and commercialise a portfolio of proprietary ingredients derived from Benson Hill’s Ultra-High Protein (UHP) soyabeans through an exclusive North American licensing partnership, the companies said on 8 August.

The companies said they would increase the production of ingredients featuring less-processed proteins with significant water and carbon sustainability benefits aimed at the plant-based food and beverage markets and would serve savoury, sweet and dairy needs.

“The global trends of food security and sustainability are driving significant and ongoing demand growth for alternative proteins: Alternative meat and dairy sales alone are expected to grow 14% a year, reaching US$125bn by 2030,” ADM’s president of Global Foods Leticia Gonçalves said.

ADM had expanded its global capacity to meet that demand with the company’s acquisition of European non-genetically modified (GMO) soya ingredient producer Sojaprotein last year and the recently announced investment to build a new protein solutions centre in Decatur, Illinois, Gonçalves added.

The collaboration combined Benson Hill’s CropOS technology platform and ADM’s broad expertise in origination, applications and formulation, the companies said.

The two companies said they would jointly engage farmer partners to take part in the seed-to-fork project.

“Seed innovation underpins the seed-to-fork movement by solving food formulation challenges in the farmer’s field, creating ingredients that are better from the beginning,” Benson Hill CEO Matt Crisp said.

“This partnership with ADM represents a major milestone in advancing our business to its next stage of growth, which also will serve to broaden our proprietary product portfolio and drive significant scale of ingredients derived from Benson Hill genetics.”

Benson Hill’s CropOS platform combines data science and machine-learning with biology and genetics.

According to the company’s website, the platform enables proprietary phenotyping, predictive breeding and environmental modelling algorithms which can be used to control characteristics such as taste and texture while reducing processing steps and the need for additives.