A better food system from plant to plate means empowering breeders, farmers, ingredient and food manufacturers, retailers and consumers to ensure better food by intent, design and access.
Breeders & Seed Producers
The same data science foundation that is changing other areas of our lives is influencing the innovation of plant science through Cloud Biology® and CropOS™.
Cloud Biology® is the culmination of data, machine learning and AI techniques with biology. CropOS™ is our proprietary platform designed to facilitate the accessibility and actionability of Cloud Biology®. It accelerates breeding by enabling greater precision and fewer breeding cycles. It is like GPS for plant scientists and breeders. It takes the guess work out; getting to desired outcomes faster and more efficiently.
CropOS™ enables proprietary phenotyping, predictive breeding and environmental modeling algorithms.
Historically, breeding has been a blend of science and chance – a lengthy, expensive process where outcomes often come with tradeoffs. As one plant characteristic such as yield is optimized, another such as protein content is compromised. CropOS™ changes this by enabling greater control and precision.
This means reduced costs and greater accessibility. With CropOS™, we can produce plants that are highly productive, highly nutritious and better tasting. We can improve sustainability by breeding plants capable of doing more, with less. We are able to better influence characteristics such as taste and texture while also reducing processing steps and the need for additives. Products bred from the beginning to have fewer trade-offs and reach the market faster.
We’re already doing this with ultra-high protein (UHP) soybeans and products with low anti-nutrient content which enables better nutrition and more sustainable management for fish, poultry and swine farming. We’re producing high oleic soybeans which means you can enjoy those fries in a healthier way. All of this is moving promise to progress.
Our Ingredients and Fresh business segments combine the power of our CropOS™ technology platform with infrastructure capabilities to scale our offerings and better serve our customers. Bringing together our seed innovation with closed-loop supply chains and best practices in the field enables greater sustainability for ingredient and food companies and retailers, end-to-end traceability for consumers and greater profitability for farmers.
The plant-based protein market will reach $140B over the next ten years. Soybean and yellow pea are fundamental to the production of these products making these crops the perfect proving ground for our CropOS™ platform and the capabilities of our Ingredients and Fresh business segments.
Soybean innovation has focused on yield, while yellow pea, the second-largest crop for plant-based ingredients, has received little genomic innovation at all.
We’re working to change that.
Our extensive and proprietary data library, which fuels CropOS™, contains plant science data on soybean varieties world-wide along with our most comprehensive yellow pea genome mapping to date. In addition, it includes consumer taste profiles, weather, soil data and more.
This unique combination of data sources enables us to explore specific plant outcomes such as protein content or the reduction of off-flavors more precisely and significantly faster than possible with traditional breeding methodologies.
Plants with higher protein content from the beginning can ultimately displace the need for expensive energy and water-intensive processing steps required to produce protein ingredients used in plant-based meat alternatives.
We’re commercializing Ultra High Protein soybean varieties (UHP) capable of reducing processing steps and natural resource use in the production of soy-based ingredients. Other soybean varieties we are bringing to market are low in antinutrients, enabling more sustainable livestock and aquaculture farming, while others enable the production of healthier cooking oils by using soybeans with high oleic content.
To enable us to better serve the pet and human food plant-based markets, we’ve expanded and upgraded Dakota Ingredients, an upper Midwest-based yellow pea processor that is part of our Ingredients business segment.
Dakota Ingredients offers an elite grower program and closed-loop production capabilities that can now test premium yellow pea varieties and supply ingredients that are traceable and meet food-grade, kosher and non-GMO certification standards.
We’re currently engaged with pet and human food ingredient customers interested in the next generation of yellow pea protein ingredients and working to establish sustainability best practices across our supply chain.
Athletes, active people and consumers who want plant-based options are interested in high-quality protein food choices sourced from simple plant-based ingredients.
Sports Dietitian to the Kansas City Chiefs and the XFL
In the United States alone we spend more on healthcare for diet-related illnesses than we do on food itself.
Our Fresh business segment focuses on combining the breeding power of CropOS™ with the extensive grower base, distribution network and retail relationships of our wholly-owned subsidiary J&J Family of Farms, a fresh produce company.
The power of CropOS™ and the reach of J&J positions us well to execute on the development and ultimately the commercialization of differentiated produce and “functional foods,” with the potential to serve the growing convergence between the produce and pharmacy aisles.
There’s a long road ahead. On average, Americans spend $1.7 trillion a year on food and almost $2 trillion per year on illnesses related to diet and nutrition such as obesity, cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
More than 65% of American adults are either overweight or have obesity and, according to the CDC, a vast number of Americans do not eat enough vegetables and fruits.
Creating better tasting, more nutritious options for both food and feed will play an important role in reversing these damaging trends. Food is health and the work we do will contribute to a healthier people and planet.
The Global Seed Bank, located near the North Pole, is home to over a million different varieties of seeds from the entire world. Its aim is to conserve crop diversity for the future so that scientists can innovate more nutritious and climate-resistant crops.
Yet currently, almost 100% of the calories in our food come from 1% of plants’ genetic diversity. Imagine the possibilities to feed and nourish the world if we unlocked more of that potential.
70% of our global fresh water supply is used for agriculture. Imagine the many other uses and the benefits for the planet if plants were bred to do more with less.
Where we can harness the plant’s ability to do just that, we can reduce not just the environmental impacts of our food but positively impact the economics as well.
And, through all of this we’re looking to make food better tasting too. There’s no sense in creating products that are sustainable and healthier if they’re not desirable. Imagine a plant-based burger you can’t wait to bite into as it sizzles on the grill or fries you savor without guilt or reservation.
This can’t just be about creation of options. It must be about the creation of cravings. We have to want to eat better, or we won’t.
Everyone on the Benson Hill team shares a set of common principles fundamental to our identity. Our team is seriously real and authentic. We are bold yet humble. We believe that shaping the future of food requires deliberate purpose and more than just ourselves. We are inspired and energized by an emerging community of innovators across the value chain. If these values speak to you, come join us and apply cutting-edge data and biological sciences to one the most fundamental needs of our time – and have a lot of fun doing it!
– Matt Crisp
President & CEO