CANADA – Merit Functional Foods, in consortium with Pitura Seeds and The Winning Combination, has received a co-investment from Protein Industries Canada (PIC), to facilitate the rapid growth of the new company.

PIC is an industry-led innovation supercluster and part of government-initiated efforts to position Canada as a global source of high-quality plant protein ingredients.

With PIC’s support, Merit anticipates to rapidly expand its ability to meet market demand for its plant-based proteins, including pea and canola.

The company disclosed that it is using Burcon NutraScience’s patented and disruptive protein extraction technology, which has been in development for more than 19 years.

Merit Co-CEO Ryan Bracken said; “This investment is exciting and empowering for Merit as it grows as a company.

“It is helping us overcome many of the hurdles that new companies typically experience and, instead, unlocking numerous opportunities for us – including job creation, technology expansion, and more.”

The funding will also help bolster throughput, increase efficiency, decrease energy consumption, and reduce Merit’s environmental footprint. Merit anticipates adding more than 240 jobs over the coming months and years to support its growth.

Merit is building a state-of-the-art 94,000-square foot production facility in Winnipeg, where it will produce a portfolio of pea and canola protein ingredients with exceptional functional and nutritional values

The company said that this will create a new value-added revenue stream for canola grown in Western Canada, which was previously limited to the extraction and sale of canola oil.

Further partnerships will involve Merit Functional Foods and Pitura Seeds of Domain, Manitoba, to develop best practices as it relates to pea and canola genetics, as well as to build standards for seed cleaning specifications necessary to achieve optimal protein.

“Pitura Seeds is proud to partner in this new project, which will bring significant value to Western Canadian farmers,” said Tom Greaves, Pitura Seeds President and General Manager.

Merit will also be partnering with The Winning Combination of Winnipeg to help Merit assess and confirm pea and canola protein functionality and stability.

Merit is also collaborating with the Manitoba Food Development Centre to perform functionality and applications work on Merit’s various by-product offerings to understand how they can be utilized.

“The support we’ve received from Protein Industries Canada thus far has been outstanding, and it is a crucial driver for our continued growth,” Bracken said.

“We’re entering the new year grateful and determined, and we’re eager to start offering our protein to the market when our facility is completed in the fourth quarter of 2020.”