Benson Hill, the crop genetics startup based out of St Louis, Missouri, is working to improve the sustainability credentials of the leading source of plant-based protein: soy. It has developed a variety of the bean with up to 50% more protein than current varieties in the hope of tapping into the plant-based alternatives market; plant-based meat alone is projected to be worth $140 billion in 10 years.
The company developed the variety by using traditional breeding practices — no gene editing for this product — and will start growing it with contract farmers in 2021. The variety was initially discovered by eMerge Genetics, which Benson Hill acquired in March 2019.
Benson Hill will also move from its regular stomping ground of seed genetics and research to actually process the bean and sell soybean protein concentrate to food companies. Soybean protein concentrate is a key ingredient for the plant-based meat and dairy industry.