Wilmington, Del.-based DuPont today announced the expansion of its DuPont Protein Technologies (DPT) business in China, to produce and market soy protein for mainstream consumer foods.

The announcement includes a Letter of Intent (LoI) to form a joint venture with the Henan Luohe Shineway Industry Group, and a cooperative agreement with the Zhengzhou government to establish the DuPont Zhengzhou Protein Co. in Zhengzhou, located in Henan Province.

Under the LoI, the two businesses plan to build a new, innovative facility in Luohe to manufacture soy protein.

The Zhengzhou agreement includes the existing assets of a state-owned site, formerly Zhengzhou Oil Chemical Group Co., that will produce soy protein to satisfy the growing market for processed meat, food and beverage products in China and for export to the Asia/Pacific region as part of DPT’s global supply network. Estimated total investment in the Zhengzhou facility will be about US$20m.

The Shineway Industry Group is the largest meat processor in China. Initial applications would be processed meat products.

“We have a strong commitment to the growth of our businesses in China, particularly in our aggressive growth areas such as food ingredients,” said Charles O. Holliday, Jr., DuPont chairman and CEO: “With soy protein consumption in China expected to grow at more than 10% per year, the excellent relationships we have established with the Shineway Industry Group and Zhengzhou government, coupled with our proprietary technology to develop better tasting, better-for-you soy protein, will allow us to meet the growing needs of Chinese consumers with mainstream foods they can enjoy throughout the day.”

Last year, DPT acquired a facility to produce soy protein in Yun Meng County. While the jv will be dedicated to meeting the protein needs of the Luohe Shineway Group, the Yun Meng and Zhengzhou facilities will be fully integrated into the business’s global supply network.

DuPont estimates the annual global food ingredients market to be about US$20bn, growing at a rate of between 3% and 5% per year. The healthy food ingredients market is growing at an average of 15% per year, with total annual sales of US$2-3bn.

DuPont established its first office in China in 1984 and today has 21 wholly owned subsidiaries and jvs with a total investment of more than US$600m.