ADM investing $300M to boost production of alternative proteins

Dive Brief:

  • Archer Daniels Midland is investing roughly $300 million to ramp up production of alternative proteins at its Decatur, Illinois, plant. The project, expected to be finished in the first quarter of 2025, will increase its soy protein concentrate capacity and nearly double the facility’s extrusion capacity. 
  • As part of the investment, ADM is also building a Protein Innovation Center in Decatur that will include labs, test kitchens and pilot-scale production capabilities to help the company develop new ingredients, more sustainable and efficient processing, along with unique texture, taste, appearance and nutrition products.
  • ADM is timing its capacity and innovation investment to meet a massive projected future demand for alternative proteins including plant-based, fermentation and cell-based options.  

Dive Insight:

According to a recent analysis by The Good Food Institute, plant-based meat alternatives could represent 6% of total meat consumption by 2030, assuming demand continues to grow at its current rate. This would require manufacturers to produce 25 million metric tons of the products per year to meet that demand — and ingredients suppliers to provide enough alternative protein. ADM is trying to meet this challenge with its latest expansion, said the company’s president of global foods, Leticia Gonçalves.

“Today’s market for alternative meat and dairy products alone is about $30 billion and is projected to grow to $125 billion by 2030, and obviously, this is just two categories,” she said. “Based on the current capacity, there is already some supply constraint in the market. And as we see this projection for growth … there will be definitely the need to continue increasing capacity.”

The GFI analysis found that for soy protein concentrate in particular, manufacturers would need three times the projected global supply of the ingredient if the 2030 growth forecast holds.

Gonçalves noted that the capacity expansion complements ADM’s 2021 acquisition of Sojaprotein, a Serbia-based provider of non-GMO vegetable protein ingredients for the meat alternative, confectionery, protein bar, pharmaceutical, pet food and animal feed segments. Combined, the capacity expansion and acquisition will boost the company’s global alternative protein production capacity by more than 30%, according to ADM.

The upcoming Protein Innovation Center, meanwhile, is designed to boost ADM’s ability to innovate in the alternative protein space.

“Imagine like an end-to-end innovation center that goes from seed to fork, where we’re going to be innovating from single ingredients to blends of ingredients, processing technologies to final food systems and solutions connected to final applications, to continue meeting better consumer demand for responsible, sustainable alternative food and beverage options that look and taste great right,” Gonçalves said.

ADM has been focusing on diversifying its sources of alternative proteins, with investments in plant-based options like soy, chickpea and sunflower to next-generation proteins like cell-based and fermented. Through its venture arm, ADM has staked money on the success of startups such as fermented protein provider Nature’s Fynd; Future Meat Technologies, which is developing cell-based meats; and Air Protein, which uses fermentation to convert carbon dioxide into a protein-rich, flour-like ingredient.

“We are going to leverage that new center to continue working with them to advance those technologies,” Gonçalves said. ADM has not shared details on when the Protein Innovation Center will open, its staffing or size.