Eat your peas, Manitoba.
The French company Roquette announced today it is planning to build the world's largest pea-processing plant in the province and will hire about 150 full-time employees.
The project, which will see a plant built near Portage la Prairie, is estimated to cost $400 million and will feed a growing demand for plant-based protein around the world, the company said.
"It is the largest global investment dedicated to pea protein to date. And it constitutes a key pillar of our strategy in plant protein in general and in pea protein in particular," said Roquette chair Edward Roquette.
Health Canada is one of the many public health agencies recommending people eat more plant-based protein — like that found in peas, lentils and beans — for better overall health.
Foods like pulses tend to be high in fibre and low in fat compared to protein sources like red meat.
Roquette said it is banking on growing demand for the healthy foods.
Premier Brian Pallister said Wednesday the plant is a good investment for the food-processing and agriculture industry. The province is providing tax increment financing (TIF) of up to $6.82 million to assist with developing the site.
Along with creating 150 full-time jobs, construction of the plant is expected to create 350 jobs over two years.
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Roquette said it chose to build its plant in Manitoba because of the availability of skilled labour in the province and its low energy costs.
"This is the home of hope and great future for our pea protein investment and the food industry," the company's chair said.
Roquette is a multi-billion-dollar family-owned company. It employs 8,000 people around the world and operates in more than 100 countries.
Construction of the site in Portage la Prairie is expected to begin later this year.