Seed World

Benson Hill Announces First Commercially Available Ultra-High Protein Soy Varieties

Benson Hill announced its plans to release Ultra-High Protein soybean varieties in the 2021 crop year. These varieties are the first commercially available soybeans that can effectively replace soy protein concentrate via typical soybean crushing. This innovation enables food companies to eliminate costly energy and water-intensive processing steps across the consumer food, animal feed and aquaculture markets. The initial launch will include over 20,000 acres in 2021, expanding tenfold in 2022.

“Athletes, active people and consumers who want plant-based options are interested in high-quality protein food choices sourced from simple plant-based ingredients,” says Leslie Bonci, sports dietitian to the Kansas City Chiefs and the XFL. “Soy is the best single source of plant-based protein that contains sufficient amounts of all essential amino acids, to maximize nutrition and health.”

Benson Hill’s seed-to-shelf innovation pipeline leverages plant genomics to drive ingredient innovation through its CropOS platform. CropOS accelerates the path to market by employing proprietary phenotyping, predictive breeding and environmental modeling algorithms, allowing Benson Hill plant breeders to optimize not only the protein content of its soy varieties but also the optimal environments for these varieties to be planted.

“While soybean yields have improved over the past decades, protein levels have fallen,” says David Iverson, United Soybean Board meal target area coordinator and South Dakota farmer. “These Ultra-High Protein varieties demonstrate how we can work together via soy checkoff investments to improve protein content for end-users. We continue to work with public and private partners, including Benson Hill, to serve as a catalyst to enable new technology, farmer choice and innovation across our soybean industry.”

The Ultra-High Protein varieties were developed through traditional breeding, allowing nonGMO certification and unrestricted use in U.S. and export markets, including Europe. Benson Hill will release the varieties through its Benson Hill Seeds division.

“The natural genetic diversity of plants is one of the most powerful sources of product
differentiation for companies driving the modern food system,” says Matt Crisp, Benson Hill CEO. “Our Ultra-High Protein portfolio and channel capabilities enable Benson Hill to meet customers where they are and empower innovators with cost-effective, scalable solutions.”