Coleslaw cabbage grower reveals huge plan for brassica protein factory

Naylor Farms has announced it is investing €38 million in a smart eco-factory seven miles from its HQ in Lincolnshire.

The Naylor Nutrition site will allow for the gentle extraction of highly nutritious brassica protein, fibre and an umami syrup which acts as a soy sauce substitute. The site also has the capabilities to produce protein from all brassica vegetables, and not just cabbage.

Planning permission for the development of the Naylor Nutrition site was granted last year and construction began in January 2023.

Simon Naylor, founder of Naylor Nutrition and joint owner of Naylor Farms, has worked alongside Dutch scientists to develop a first-of-its-kind gentle cold-extraction process.

Together they have created the world’s first functional plant-based protein ingredient that harnesses the natural health benefits of cabbage. These benefits far surpass those of plant-based proteins currently on the market, Naylor claimed.

“Many of the current plant-based solutions to the problem of traditional mass agriculture claim to be sustainable, yet they travel thousands of miles before reaching their destination,” he continued. ”We offer products with zero airmiles, making Naylor Nutrition’s brassica protein ingredients truly sustainable.”

Health benefits of cabbage

Naylor Nutrition’s three products come directly from cabbage, and in the future will incorporate other vegetables from the brassica family.

Cabbage has been scientifically proven to be rich in vitamins and minerals such as vitamin, A, C, E, B2, B6, Omega 3, 6 and all nine of the essential amino acids. It has five times more iron than pea or soya protein.

Most notably, cabbage contains glucosinolates and polyphenols which are known to prevent oxidative stress. They can also help alter the way compounds are broken down by the body making them less likely to cause serious disease. Further medical research is going into these two elements with already promising results being published.

Gail Francis, director of business growth and delivery UK & EU at Naylor Nutrition, added: “What makes cabbage protein so exciting is how easily it is absorbed into our bodies. This is not the case for almost every plant protein currently on the market as they are denatured and nutritionally ineffective in comparison to brassica (cabbage) protein. Our products support functionality in other products and superior nutrition for human beings.”

Naylor Nutrition says its plant-based ingredient has many powerful uses in the food industry, from functional protein powder to a highly nutritious umami syrup which has vast market applications, such as sports nutrition and recovery drinks. Additionally, it can be used to reduce salt and sugar in soups and sauces and is great as a soy sauce replacement.

Sustainability credentials

“This new generation of plant-based protein must balance both nutritional content and agricultural sustainability, so that its production positively impacts on the environment,” Naylor said.

The long-term sustainability of traditional plant-based proteins such as pea and soya has been called into question. Both crops are sensitive to the impacts of global warming with droughts and wet harvests devasting crops and increasing global prices. What’s more, both these plant proteins are often shipped thousands of miles before they reach a manufacturing facility.

Cabbages are a resilient crop and can be grown on all types of soil all over the world. They have a high yield of 150-250 tonnes per hectare, compared to around four tonnes per hectare for pea and soya. This makes brassica one of the most sustainable and efficient vegetables to grow, the company explained.

Naylor Farms grows cabbages in a sustainable and regenerative way, the company said, maximising their health attributes while increasing soil integrity and health.