CANADA – Canada plant-based protein industry is poised to grow into new heights following an of CA$25.7 million (US$19.6 million) by major food and ingredient companies to increase the functionality of plant-based proteins and co-products.

According to a Food Dive report, half of the funds (US$9.7 million) was contributed by Ingredion, Ingredion Plant Based Protein Specialties (Canada), Verdient Foods, T Base 4 Investments and O.M.D. Food Products.

Protein Industries Canada, an industry-led, not-for-profit organization, which is one of Canada’s five Innovation Superclusters is reported to have matched the amount provided by the above food companies, bringing the total investment into the project to US$19.6 million.

The project is expected to increase the functionality of pulse-based protein ingredients for the food market and promote the expansion of plant protein applications thereby broadening the markets for plant-based products and for pulses grown in Canada.

Initially focusing on yellow peas, the partners will use physical processing techniques to turn the commodities into ingredients that will be available to food processors and manufacturers in Canada and internationally.

The partners expect the pulse-based ingredients to be of interest to large-scale food processors and manufacturers throughout Canada and international markets, helping to drive further investment into Canada’s economy and the plant-protein sector.

“This innovative project is a great example of how the Protein Supercluster is playing an important role in the modernization of Canada’s plant protein sector,” says Navdeep Bains, Canada’s minister of innovation, science and industry.

The investment follows Ingredion’s acquisition of the remaining portion of plant-based protein processor Verdient foods, located in the heart of Canada’s pulse-crop production area, Saskatchewan.

Commenting on the new partnership, Beth Tormey, Ingredion’s vice president of plant-based proteins said: “By coming together with other consortium members, we can produce the next generation of ingredients that can be used by food manufacturers in Canada and on a global scale.”

Saskatchewan where the project will be located is Canada’s agri-food and agricultural province, producing the majority of Canada’s plant protein sources such as peas, lentils, peas, oats, canola and wheat. It is also the world’s largest exporter of peas and lentils, explains Speer.

Verdient co-founder James Cameron adds: “Our goal is to add value within Canada, rather than just shipping megatonnage overseas at commodity prices.”

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