BioMar to source ‘low-impact’ soy from US supplier Benson Hill

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/hudiemm
© GettyImages/hudiemm

Related tags Benson Hill BioMar Soy Protein

Non-GMO soy producer, Benson Hill, has struck an aqua feed ingredient supply deal with BioMar.

The Danish fish feed manufacturer will source “consecutive seasons”​ of Benson Hill ingredients, saying this was part of its commitment to build restorative soy supply chains.

March 2020 saw Benson Hill first unveil its plans to release Ultra-High Protein (UHP) soybean varieties during the 2021 crop year. The crop developer produces the beans using traditional breeding methods allowing for their classification as non-GMO and, furthermore, unrestricted sale of the beans in the US and in export markets, including Europe.

The beans can replace soy protein concentrate (SPC) via typical soybean crushing, enabling companies across the consumer food and feed markets to eliminate costly energy and water-intensive processing steps, said Benson Hill. The initial plan was to have over 20,000 acres in 2021, expanding that tenfold in 2022.

The partners expect this alliance to demonstrate that it is possible to reduce carbon emissions in aquaculture production and meet market demands for traceability at the same time.

Morten Holdorff Møjbæk, global sourcing director, BioMar, said it was important for the company to find suppliers to help it deliver on its responsible sourcing ambitions: “BioMar has made a commitment to reduce the impacts of our feeds, and 97% of the carbon footprint comes from the feed ingredients. Benson Hill’s closed-loop business model, robust US farmer network, and ability to trace back to seed make them an ideal collaborator.”

BioMar's exit last year from Russia - a very large global player in the agriculture commodity market - had a significant impact on the company. "Our ambitions and our values drive us, and it is vital for us to stand firm on our values even when decisions are tough. By doing this, we also want to emphasise to our customers that we care about their brands and will not jeopardise this over short-term gains. The exit from Russia has further encouraged us to speed up the development of low-impact ingredients and aided in the de-risking of our supply chain," ​he told us.

BioMar will be utilising "commercial volumes"​ of the Benson Hill soy product, which will first be applied in feeds for the European market.

"We are working with Benson Hill to continue ramping up commercial volumes. Innovation is ongoing as we optimise this product for aquaculture feed while ensuring it continues to have a low impact," ​added the sourcing lead. 

Matt Crisp, CEO of Benson Hill, said the partners will further research how high-protein, low-oligosaccharide, plant-based ingredients perform in aquaculture feed at scale. "Stewarding our planetary resources is essential on the journey to accelerate transformation in the global aquaculture industry."

ProTerra Certification

Benson Hill recently achieved ProTerra certification, which it said validates the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) principles guiding its work to deliver non-GMO ingredients to markets within and outside the US.

Throughout that certification process, the ingredient provider completed audits of its Creston, Iowa, and Seymour, Indiana plants as well as two shipping ports that store and transport its non-GMO soymeal. It also partnered with its growers to conduct on-farm visits, examining data related to identity preservation along with deforestation practices, biodiversity efforts, and other ESG metrics such as fair labor practices.

Emese van Maanen, MD of ProTerra Foundation, said the certification demonstrates Benson Hill’s engagement to continuously improve agricultural practices and achieve full transparency in the food supply chain.

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