Partnership to expand use of western Canadian plant proteins

Consortium will develop new products for Canadian and Asian markets

A new partnership is aiming to develop new plant-based protein products and ingredients intended for markets in Western Canada and Asia.

A recent media release from Protein Industries Canada, the federally funded ‘supercluster’ that’s tasked with growing this sector said Mera Food Group, Mera Developments and Benson Farms are going in together to use oats, lentils, hemp, fava beans and chickpeas — to develop beverages and other products for consumers in Western Canada before targeting Asian markets in the second phase.

“Collaboration is the key to driving Canadian innovation,” said Navdeep Bains, minister of innovation, science and industry in the prepared release. “This project is yet another example of how Protein Industries Canada is helping to build relationships along the value chain from farm to fork.”

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The Saskatchewan-based companies will all contribute to the undertaking based on their area of expertise.

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). Together, Mera Food Group, Mera Developments and Benson Farms are investing $3.6 million into the project, with Protein Industries Canada investing a further $3.6 million.

This $7.2-million project is Protein Industries Canada’s 13th project announcement. Together with industry, they’ve committed $272 million into the plant-protein sector through active technology projects. They are currently accepting their third round of ‘expressions of interest.’

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