Christine Lewington: A New Solution For The Global Protein Crisis

To the meat lovers’ chagrin, the verdict is that – animal-based foods contribute twice as much to global greenhouse gas emissions as plant-based foods do. According to a study in Nature Food, 57% of total emissions result from animal-based food production.

Some types of production are more to blame than others. Beef production, for example, accounts for a quarter of all animal-based food-related emissions. Hence, navigating away from animal-based food production towards plant-based, seems a viable way to reduce the emissions from our overall food production industry.

Still, there are plenty of challenges on that road ahead. Rising costs of production and the negative public perception that plant-based alternatives seldomly taste as good as animal-based foods top the list of challenges needed to be solved by plant-based food manufacturers.

Christine Lewington is tackling these and other issues. As the founder and CEO ofPIP International, an Agri-tech company based in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, she has more than twenty years of experience in the industry. With her team at PIP International, she’s solving some of the biggest problems facing the plant-based protein industry.

“We chose to focus on yellow peas as they provide a near perfect amino-acid profile and have the best nutritional profile of legume options. Still, it’s not the king of everything. People don’t like it,” she explains. “And the driving reason for the dislike is the bad taste. If you’ve ever tasted pea protein, the harsh bitterness will stop you from coming back for more. I knew if we could solve the taste, the colour and not damage the protein when extracting it, then the major problems with pea protein would be gone, thereby creating limitless opportunity.”

The solution she found will revolutionize the plant-based protein world. Thanks to a novel extraction process developed by a European tech house, PIP International has managed to produce the world’s first tasteless, colourless and easiest to use yellow pea protein isolate.

“Our new extraction process leaves the protein undamaged so that we deliver our pea isolate to companies in a near-natural state,” Christine Lewington explains. “Our in-house product development team has easily created ice cream, fudge, biscuits, beverages, cheese spreads, coffee creamers and more. All of them taste great, because our protein has a neutral taste and is easy to use.”

PIP International’s breakthrough comes at a critical moment. With the world’s population reaching eight billion and, on its way to hitting the ten-billion mark in the next few decades, ramping up food production to keep the current consumption levels will be challenging. For protein specifically, the situation is even direr, as any increase in animal-based food production puts the world further off course from meeting greenhouse gas emission targets.

“The world is in already in protein crisis and we need significantly more,” says Christine Lewington. “The search for viable protein sources is crucial. We’re offering a protein isolate that won’t turn off customers after their first taste, as most current products do. Plant-based products need to taste great so they come back for more!”

Besides solving the taste issue, PIP International has also successfully created its pea protein isolate at a lower cost. Through a combination of cross-industry production processes, the company’s cost-saving methods allows it to offer their protein at lower than market pricing.

“Innovations have allowed us to reduce processing time, save significant energy costs, and produce a plant-protein with flexible attributes, thanks to new technologies,” Christine Lewington explains. “The result is a premium product without the premium price.”

PIP International has already been getting plenty of attention. In less than 12 months, the company has reached $7 million in orders and catapulted from being a PowerPoint presentation a $30 million production facility. The plan is to grow steady but aggressively – the demand is growing, the product is excellent, and investors and potential buyers have been flocking to the company. The company already has support from the Canadian government.
“We have a strong interest from Korea, too – their government is looking for alternatives to soy protein, and our pea protein product caught their eye,” Christine Lewington explains. “But that’s to be expected – the need for quality plant-based protein exists worldwide, so any company willing to rise to the challenge of producing it needs to think and act internationally.”

So far, Christine Lewington and PIP International have had their premium protein evaluated by dozens of companies, with all of them coming back to strike a deal. With the large-scale production facility on track to open in 2024, PIP International will be able to position itself as one of the leading actors in the market. The product is there, as is the low cost of production.

“We like to say that we’ve cracked the code with our pea protein and created something the world needs and at a price that doesn’t make it prohibitive to use” Christine Lewington. “By pairing the great taste with an affordability advantage, we are on the leading edge for our yellow pea protein isolate to revolutionize the plant-based food industry.”

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© PIP – INTERNATIONAL. All Rights Reserved.

© PIP – INTERNATIONAL. All Rights Reserved.

© PIP – INTERNATIONAL. All Rights Reserved.