Ingredients maker Ingredion eyes expansion into plant-based proteins

BOCA RATON, Fla., Feb 20 (Reuters) - Ingredion Inc is evaluating opportunities to expand its portfolio of ingredients made from grains, fruits and vegetables with an eye to plant-based proteins as a growth area, President and Chief Executive Officer Jim Zallie said on Tuesday in an interview along the sidelines of the Consumer Analyst Group of New York conference in Florida.

* Expansion into plant-based proteins likely through acquisition or research and development

* Potential impact of NAFTA discussions likely to be felt in 2019 at the earliest

* Sees inflation, particularly in freight, as headwind for this year; projected truck rates up 5-6 percent

Reporting by Chris Prentice; Editing by Lisa Shumaker