Cargill Invests in Minneapolis Protein Manufacturer Puris Through Joint Venture
Tyler Lorenzen, CEO of Puris Proteins LLC (Photo provided by Puris Proteins LLC)

Cargill Invests in Minneapolis Protein Manufacturer Puris Through Joint Venture

The two local food-centric companies signed a joint venture this month to boost Puris's current capacity and enhance its manufacturing plant.

Puris Proteins LLC, a Minneapolis-based manufacturer of plant-based foods, has received a $25 million investment from a lone contributor, according to a recent SEC filing.
 
Although Puris president Tyler Lorenzen declined to discuss specifics of the investment, the regulatory filing signed by Lorenzen arrived less than a week after Puris announced a joint business venture with Wayzata-based Cargill, a food and agriculture behemoth that for years has ranked as the largest private company in the U.S.
 
According to the January 17 release, Cargill’s financial investment will allow Puris to expand its production and distribution globally. Still, Lorenzen said in the announcement, Puris plans to maintain its focus on U.S. production, increasing its current capacity and adding a second plant.
 
“We will double-down our current production facilities, and we’ll share additional news on further production facilities later in time,” Lorenzen told Twin Cities Business.
 
Lorenzen also declined to discuss Cargill’s specific role in the joint venture between the two companies, although the SEC form did reveal equity in Puris being offered to its $25-million investor. In an interview with Whole Foods Magazine, David Henstrom, Cargill’s vice president, said PURIS aligned with Cargill’s vision “to meet the growing demand for protein globally and to help customers deliver label-friendly products without sacrificing taste.”
 
Puris, formerly World Food Processing, was founded in 1985 as a seed company in Oskaloosa, Iowa, and now, after 30 years of business, boasts the title of the largest North American producer of pea protein. Although PURIS specializes in its pea protein, starches, and fibers, the Minneapolis-based company also produces finished foods such as protein bars, ready-to-drink beverages and baked goods.
 
“Puris is a game changer in terms of taste and vertical integration in pea protein,” Henstrom said in the release.
 
Lorenzen’s company, beyond its pea products alone, has made a concerted effort to create a transparent farm-to-table process — using only non-GMO, organic, U.S.-based products from peas and soy to pulses and lentils — all without compromising taste.
 
“With Cargill’s support, our plant-based ingredient become available to customers and consumers on a global scale,” Lorenzen said in the release. “Our founder set out to feed the world in 1986. Now it’s coming true.”
 
Lorenzen, who has been at the helm of this family-owned company since 2015, has a background not in organic farming, but in professional football. After graduating from the University of Connecticut in 2008, the Iowa native joined the New Orleans Saints as a tight end in 2009 — the same Saints who controversially defeated the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Championship Game and went on to win Super Bowl XLIII over Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts. After eventually being released by the Saints, Lorenzen joined Puris in September 2011.
 
Despite his NFL background, Lorenzen said, Puris hasn’t made any plans for strategic advertising around the Big Game on February 4.
 
“[We haven’t planned any] promotional activities around the Super Bowl,” Lorenzen said. “However, I’m certainly pulling for a couple of my friends who will be playing in the game. Beyond that, we’re purely spectators and happy for the city of Minneapolis.”

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