Next-generation yellow peas offer ‘green,’ high protein option

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The pea protein market is expected to hit $2.9 billion by 2027, with consumer demand for plant-based foods increasing and predicted to outpace the available supply. A new yellow pea seed variety by Equinom may help farmers and food producers to meet this new demand. Together with Peterson Farm Seed, the partners are propagating patent-protected, high-protein, yellow pea seeds that are set to be harvested for the first time this fall. 

Equinom’s ultra-high-protein yellow pea seeds were developed using an AI technology called Manna to produce nutrient-dense yellow pea seeds by identifying desirable traits for food application and predicting the best cross-breeding matches. According to the company’s release, these new varieties will “eliminate the need for the heavy processing typically required to produce food-grade pea proteins,” thereby providing a foundation for minimally processed, more sustainable pea protein ingredients.  



The yellow pea seeds are predicted to be high-value, low-risk seeds accessible to producers while meeting the needs of food companies for nutrient-rich, plant-based ingredients. The Equinom yellow pea varieties have been bred with resistance to powdery mildew, and growers who raise Equinom crops will have access to closed-loop, take all contracts, including pick up post-harvest on farms. Additionally, the partnership states that growers will also be offered a market price plus bonuses for protein content. 

»Related: Food Science Babe: ‘Plant-based’ demand spurs innovation in milk alternatives

Peterson Farm Seed is set to propagate the seeds. They ultimately plan to commercialize the Euqinom pea varieties, which will act as a foundation of pea-protein ingredients that have traditionally relied on isolates.

In a news release, Peterson Farm Seed’s president Carl Peterson says, “At Peterson Farms Seed, we take pride in our capabilities to produce quality, identity-preserved seeds with our experienced network of farmers. The opportunity to connect our knowledge and passion with the innovative approach Equinom has taken to cultivate source crops optimized for food applications was one we couldn’t pass up. We see offering value-added crops as a necessary step as we collectively work toward creating a more sustainable and equitable food system for farmers and consumers alike.”

Image by Charles Waldroup, Shutterstock

The partners plan to harvest produced seed and grain from 700 planted acres within Peterson Farms Seed’s regional grower network this fall. They anticipate further plans to improve other protein-rich crops.

“This collaboration with Peterson Farms Seeds is a major step toward achieving our larger ambition — to help make our food system sustainable and accessible for a growing population,” said Oron Gar, Chief Operations Officer at Equinom. “This is the first time this kind of end-to-end, identity-preserved supply chain has been formed for yellow peas. With their exemplary quality standards, Peterson Farms Seeds is the perfect collaborator to help us take this major step towards commercializing our game-changing, minimally processed pea protein ingredients.” 

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