New PIC partnership will work to improve protein content of pulse-based dairy alternatives

Protein Industries Canada (PIC) is announcing an investment into a project that will lead to the development of new, high-protein pulse-based ingredients for the non-dairy beverage market.

GrainFrac Inc., TomTene Seed Farm, and Ripple Foods PBC, are partnering to develop and utilize specialized dry processing technology patented by GrainFrac. This technology will process pulses chosen and supplied by TomTene Seed Farm into fine flours, whose starches and proteins will then be separated in order to extract as much protein as possible into concentrates and isolates.

Ripple Foods plans to test these ingredients in 36 new beverage formations, in response to the rising demand for plant-based dairy-alternative beverages.

Together, Protein Industries Canada, GrainFrac, Tomtene Seed Farm and Ripple Foods are investing $4.3 million into the project. Protein Industries Canada is committing half of the investment, with GrainFrac, Tomtene Seed Farms and Ripple Foods joining to commit the remaining half.

Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) says Canada’s food processing sector is an economic powerhouse and continues to adapt to changes in consumer preferences.

“This multinational partnership will use a Canadian innovation and pulses to bring new beverages to market across North America.,” Bibeau says. “Made possible through the PIC supercluster, this is exactly the type of project the government i sproud to stand behind, showcasing Canadian ingenuity and high-quality Canadian agriculture and value-added manufacturing. As demand for beverages that incorporate plant-base dproteing rows, our pulse producers and food processors stand ready to fill the world’s needs.”

Initial testing showed pea flour processed using the technology had a protein content almost nine per cent higher than that processed using a pin-milled method. The ingredients shown to have the highest protein content will be used in Ripple Foods’ formulations, as well as marketed to other processors and manufacturers outside of the partnership following the completion of the project.

Bill Greuel, chief executive officer of PIC, says consumers around the globe are looking for new alternatives to dairy beverages, and their demand for those products is rising quickly.

“GrainFrac, Tomtene Seed Farm, and Ripple Foods will soon be providing them with new options, both here in Canada and in some of the world’s largest plant-based food markets, including the United States,” Greuel explains. “By utilizing Canadian-grown crops in their work, they’ll bring us closer to our goal of Canada becoming a global leader in plant-based ingredients and food.”

The investment is expected to help both introduce new products to the market as well as scale up GrainFrac’s processing technology. This scale-up will help GrainFrac quantify the environmental benefits associated with the technology’s dry processing capabilities, including its reduction in water use.

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