Protein Industries Canada (PIC) has announced a new partnership that will focus on developing new plant-based protein products and ingredients destined for markets in Western Canada and Asia.
The partnership between Mera Food Group, Mera Developments, and Benson Farms will use Western Canadian commodities to develop the products — such as oats, lentils, hemp, faba beans, and chickpeas.
Together, the three companies have committed $3.6 million into the project, with Protein Industries Canada investing a further $3.6 million.
Phase one of the project is focused on developing beverages for consumers in Western Canada, and phase two will focus on products for Asian markets.
Bill Gruel, chief executive officer of PIC, says the collaborative nature of Mera Food Group, Mera Developments, and Benson farms perfectly represents the potential of the sector.
“Together, they’re not only helping each other achieve production and processing goals, but they’re also helping other agri-food and retail companies achieve their own growth goals,” Gruel says. “Ultimately, they’re helping Canada reach new markets and expand the economy, while bringing plant-proteins to the plates of consumers.”
Throughout the project, Benson Farms will help determine the best varieties of the commodities to use via trial plots. Mera Food Group and Mera Developments, meanwhile, will focus on developing the plant-based protein products and ingredients, including an outside partnership with Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL).
While strengthening the plant-protein sector through the development of new products, the partners will also be expanding it by building additional capacity for other agrifood businesses. They will be bringing new co-packaging machinery into the Saskatchewan Food Industry Development Centre, and will make it available for use by other companies.
Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada says this collaboration will help Canada remain at the forefront of innovation.
“We’re demonstrating Canada’s agri-food ingenuity to the world, all the while strengthening our agriculture and agri-food sectors, growing our exports, and diversifying our markets,” says Bibeau.
This $7.2 million project is Protein Industries Canada’s 13th project announcement.