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Benson Hill Acquiring ZFS Creston

Benson Hill said acquiring ZFS' food-grade soy ingredients operation unlocks opportunities for its proprietary soybean portfolio in an undersupplied market.

January 7, 2022

ST. LOUIS — Benson Hill, a food tech company, this week announced the acquisition of ZFS Creston, a food grade white flake and soy flour manufacturing operation in southwest Iowa, for approximately $102 million primarily financed through a new debt facility. Benson Hill said the investment fulfills a final step in its ability to convert its proprietary soybeans into value-added soy protein ingredients for the underserved human and pet food categories.

"The acquisition of ZFS Creston, combined with our proprietary ultra-high protein soybean varieties, positions Benson Hill to deliver a portfolio of improved ingredients as an innovative unlock to bottlenecks in the rapidly growing but capacity-constrained plant-based movement," said Matt Crisp, CEO of Benson Hill. "This acquisition advances our integrated business model as a more efficient route to market with a smaller footprint that better aligns with consumer preferences, enabling us to harness the genetic potential of plants and help scale the growth of plant-based markets."

The exploding demand for soy-based protein ingredients is outpacing supply, suggesting the need to build additional concentrate and isolate processing facilities, Benson Hill said. This traditional approach would take massive investment, years to build and perpetuate a commodity-based, asset-heavy, siloed approach to food production. Benson Hill said its technology and integrated approach increases protein expression in the soybean plant itself, so that the need for additional processing is reduced. Capacity and capabilities acquired through ZFS Creston will enable the company to immediately deliver a portfolio of better-from-the-beginning non-GMO ingredients that are less processed, more sustainable, identity-preserved, traceable and domestically sourced.