Food innovation company targets yellow peas

St. Louis based food innovation company Benson Hill has launched a yellow pea breeding and commercialization program.

Benson Hill CEO Matt Crisp.

“We noted that this is the fastest growing alternative plant protein source,” he said. “It’s got some really unique characteristics, but it hasn’t really been advanced from a genetic standpoint.”

Crisp tells Brownfield the company is using Artificial Intelligence in its breeding program to better predict potential genetic advancements within the crop.

“We sequenced a really world-class reference genome which like a high-resolution genetic map,” he said. “[Which], effectively shows how we can use our predictive breeding and AI models to tie back and inform our breeders [on] how to advance the crop more effectively, more efficiently,” he said.

Crisp said Benson Hill is also collaborating with growers to get active feedback on the crop as varieties are developed over multiple growing seasons.

Crisp said yellow pea varieties will likely be a big part of plant-based meat alternatives which is expected to be a $140 billion market by the end of the decade.

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