Geelong-based cereal and pulse producer Unigrain has announced plans to build its first pulse processing and fractionation plant in Smeaton, Victoria, with an initial focus on plant-based protein extraction from locally-grown field peas and faba beans.

According to Unigrain, the processing plant will be the first in Australia to integrate pulse milling along with fractionation, which is the process of separating food items into concentrated components such as protein. 

The company said the plant will process 40,000 tonnes of Australian grown field peas and faba beans per year, with plans to expand its protein extraction processing to include other pulses such as lentils and chickpeas.

Unigrain co-CEO Andrew May says the company was “thrilled to be a part of” the Australian alternative proteins sector and to help facilitate the development of a local supply chain. “Consumers are increasingly turning to pulse-based proteins as part of a broader emphasis on health, lifestyle and the environment,” said May.

Construction of the facility will commence in early 2022, with full-scale production planned to start by mid-2022.

Pulse-based protein from peas and faba beans are used in Australian food manufacturing across a range of products, including baked goods, snacks, plant-based meats and more.

READ MORE: Unigrain to build pulse fractionation plant [Grain Central]