SWITZERLAND – Nestlé has entered into a joint development agreement (JDA) with Merit Functional Foods and its technology partner Burcon NutraScience to tailor their plant-based proteins for use in Nestlé food and beverage applications.

The partnership will enable Nestlé to further accelerate the development of plant-based meat and dairy alternatives with a favorable environmental footprint.

The collaboration will combine Nestlé’s expertise in the development, production and commercialization of plant-based foods and beverages with Burcon’s proprietary plant protein extraction and purification technology, while leveraging Merit’s state-of-the-art plant protein production capabilities.

The aim of the joint development is to tailor the functionality of Burcon and Merit’s plant-proteins, to be supplied from Merit’s production facility, which Merit is currently building, for use by Nestlé in plant-based foods.

“Developing nutritious and great-tasting plant-based meat and dairy alternatives requires access to tasty, nutritious and sustainable raw materials as well as proprietary manufacturing technology,” says Stefan Palzer, Nestlé Chief Technology Officer.

“The partnership with Burcon and Merit will give us access to unique expertise and a new range of high-quality ingredients for plant-based food and beverages.”

Johann F. Tergesen, Burcon’s president and chief executive officer, said:“We are thrilled to be partnering with Nestlé, to customize our already exciting novel plant-based proteins.

“This collaboration among Burcon, Nestlé and Merit is about strategic innovation to deliver unique, sustainable, great tasting, and highly nutritious plant-based products.”

“Partnering with Nestlé – a global leader in food and nutrition – is a major milestone for Merit Functional Foods,” Merit Co-CEO Ryan Bracken said.

Established in 2019, Merit has already demonstrated the value of our novel proteins in plant-based foods and recently received an investment from Protein Industries Canada (PIC), to facilitate the rapid growth of the new company.

“This new partnership helps build on this, and it’s a major step in developing the next generation of nutritious and delicious plant-based products that draw on the benefits of our novel proteins,” Bracken added.

Globally, Nestlé has around 300 R&D scientists, engineers and product developers located in 8 R&D centers that are dedicated to the research and development of plant-based products.

To complement its internal capabilities, the company also strategically collaborates with researchers, suppliers, start-ups and various other innovation partners.

The company has also unveiled plans of launching vegan alternatives to cheese and bacon, designed to complement its existing plant-based broad plant-based product range.