If you’re creating with pea protein, it’s important to understand the attributes of your ingredients. Qualities like taste and function will determine what’s possible at the bench, and details like origin and sustainability of source will impact how your foods are ultimately marketed and sold.
But if your ingredients aren’t consistent – then your food’s quality and marketing potential won’t be, either. And ensuring the quality of plant protein requires a process that begins long before formulation.
It starts on the farm.
“The peas in NUTRALYS® protein stay in farmers’ hands until we’re ready to process them,” says Bruce Brolley, senior agronomist at Roquette Canada. “But every step is controlled.”
Roquette processes peas at facilities in both France and, beginning this year, Canada. The new facility means increased availability for plant protein ingredients that are taking the world by storm. But both Roquette facilities use the same method to ensure consistency of quality in NUTRALYS® protein.
That method is called the Roquette Pea Growing Protocol.
“The beauty of this protocol is that the farmers know just what we’re going to do with the ingredients they grow,” says Fabienne Pointier, who works closely with European growers in her role as agricultural commodities specialist at Roquette Switzerland. NUTRALYS® peas aren’t purchased as commodities, she says – they’re grown as specialty crops. From the very start, farmers know they’re growing peas for Roquette. And that makes adherence to quality standards possible.
Here are three ways the Roquette Protocol guides farmers as they grow and store peas to be used in NUTRALYS® ingredients.
- It guides varietal selection. “There are certain varieties of pea we prefer,” Brolley says, “because of their performance and their quality.” We’re working toward having farmers commit to growing with preferred varieties.
- It guides plant protection practices. “We don’t allow certain products to be used on our peas,” Brolley says. Farms growing for Roquette hold themselves to a specific standard in crop treatment.
- It guides sustainability and crop management practices. “We want our farmers to be best in class,” Brolley says. “So we encourage the use of sustainable management practices, using data developed by regional research.”
While the Roquette Pea Growing Protocol ensures consistency, it isn’t a fixed set of rules – each year, as farmers sign new contracts, they work with Roquette to make improvements and updates to protocol guidelines. This makes for a standard of quality that’s consistent but allows for variations in best practices that come with varying geography and seasonal changes.
In that sense, the protocol is more than a rulebook: It’s a process for continual improvement.
“It’s really a collaboration,” Pointier says. “Every year, it may change a little bit depending on what everybody learned the previous year. It’s based on experience and discussion.”
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