Bühler and Hosokawa Alpine combine for plant based product solutions

The Swiss-based Bühler Group and Hosokawa Alpine equipment firm have confirmed a strategic collaboration accelerating production of on-trend plant protein solutions, reports Neill Barston.

As they explained to Confectionery Production, the latest agreement between the businesses will provide customers with the most efficient value chain for pulses being processed into protein ingredients.

The two firms have an established relationship for handling chocolate-based confectionery products, with the extent of its collaboration heightening with its latest agreement. Furthermore, the joint-venture will have full value-chain implications, including for the development of concentrates within biscuits and bakery series.

Bühler has developed a strong market specialism for solutions in pulses processing, offering equipment handling intake, cleaning, dehulling and grinding of pulses, and further food processing with its extrusion technology, which texturises plant-based proteins into a wide range of products.

The past few years has seen a significant rise in the wider plant-based market which is now impacting on the confectionery sector, with major businesses such as Barry Callebaut recently releasing chocolate series catering for non-dairy and vegan dietary requirements.

Hosokawa Alpine complements the production process by adding its leading technology for the dry separation of pulses’ protein: fine grinding and air classification. The combination of Bühler’s upstream pulses process and Hosokawa’s process for size reduction and classification produces the highest yields of high value protein concentrates.

Ultimately, with this partnership (the agreement signing below with Johannes Wick and Antonio Fernandez)  the companies will be able to offer customers process technology and expertise along the complete field-to-fork pulses protein chain.

“Hosokawa Alpine will be our preferred partner for integrated solutions for our customers that are processing sustainable proteins. Thanks to their vast expertise in protein extraction, we can now cover the entire value chain for plant-based protein – from any kind of pulses to dry extrudates ready for consumption,” says Johannes Wick, CEO Bühler Grains & Food.

This statement is echoed by Dr. Antonio Fernández (main image), chairman of the executive board at Hosokawa Alpine: “By working with Bühler, we can fully realise the potential of the value chain. With our combined technologies, we meet the market requirements in the best possible way and drive developments in the process chain forward.”

The strategic partnership will strengthen the innovation and development capacities of both companies. The market for sustainable proteins has been growing significantly over the last years, fuelled by end consumers demanding more sustainable proteins.

“With this cooperation, we can address customer needs from the harvest to the final product. We operate in an integrated and collaborative way to ensure a seamless experience for our customers. This starts with our application centres in Uzwil, Switzerland, and the brand-new Food Application Centre in Minneapolis, US, created to develop new methods of transforming pulses and grains into tasty new food solutions. They are complemented by Hosokawa Alpine’s facilities in Augsburg, Germany, all of them being available for customer trials. Our collaboration goes through to commissioning and services ensuring high-quality outputs for our customers,” says Andreas Risch, Head of Special Grains & Pulses at Bühler.

Besides this latest collaboration agreement, Bühler and Hosokawa Alpine have been working together in different projects and industries since the 1980s. This led the two partners to the conclusion that their strong customer focus and innovation power make for a strong fit for the sustainable protein sector.

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