Protein Industries Canada has announced their second co-investment into a consortium-led project. The $19.1 million project will work to commercialize high quality plant-based proteins, focusing on proprietary pea protein and canola protein isolates, including introducing the world’s first highly soluble, highly functional canola protein isolate.
The project, when complete, will create a range of products, including ingredients to be used in high-value food applications such as plant-protein beverages and plant-based meat alternatives and result in the employment of more than 200 people.
“I am delighted to see continued momentum from the superclusters through new projects and even more investments in the commercialization of new technology. This project from the Protein Industries Supercluster will solidify Canada’s reputation as a global leader in plant proteins, while helping to build a stronger agricultural sector by adding value along every step of the value chain,” The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry said.
“As the Special Representative for the Prairies, I know how important the Protein Supercluster is to Winnipeg and the region. This new project will help position Canada’s plant-based proteins industry for new markets around the world,” The Honourable Jim Carr, Special Advisor for the Prairies and MP for Winnipeg South Centre said.
The consortium made up of Merit Functional Foods of Winnipeg, MB; Pitura Seeds from Domain, MB; and Winning Combination of Winnipeg will invest $9.5 million, with an equal investment from Protein Industries Canada. By taking patented technology from Burcon Nutrascience, and with support from the Manitoba Food Development Centre, the project will commercialize the world’s first canola proteins and novel pea protein isolates with more than 90 per cent purity and high solubility in food and beverages. This high purity improves the pea proteins flavour profile, while high solubility eliminates the grittiness experienced with less soluble proteins
“This project is a great example of why the Innovation Supercluster Initiative was created.” CEO of Protein Industries Canada Bill Greuel said. “The consortium consists of businesses from across the value chain coming together to create new products not currently produced anywhere else in the world. This will increase the demand and value of some of Western Canada’s biggest agricultural commodities – peas and canola – and create new products to sell to customers across the globe.”
The processing of the new products will occur at Merit Functional Foods state-of-the-art Plant Protein facility currently being constructed in Winnipeg. Upon successful completion of Phase 1 in Q4 2020, it is expected that 20,000 metric tonnes of peas and canola will be purchased from Western Canadian growers, adding significant value and creating products for international markets. Upon completion of Phase 3, that number is expected to exceed 100,000 metric tonnes.
“This investment is exciting and empowering for Merit as it grows as a company,” Merit Co-CEO Ryan Bracken said. “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.”
“Pitura Seeds is proud to partner in this new project, which will bring significant value to Western Canadian farmers,” Pitura Seeds President and General Manager Tom Greaves said.
“We are very excited to be working with two local businesses to produce a Manitoba product that meets the growing global demand in this space,” Chief Operating Officer of The Winning Combination Mark Colley said.
Protein Industries Canada currently has 22 projects being evaluated for investment. The projects represent potential investment of more than $130 million and include projects from Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario. Protein Industries Canada previously announced an investment in Botaneco Inc. from Calgary, AB.
About Merit Functional Foods: Established in 2019, Merit Functional Foods is committed to exceeding expectations for plant-based protein, providing the market with the highest quality protein ingredients and blends that offer unmatched purity, exceptional taste, and excellent solubility. Merit is building a state-of-the-art 88,000-square foot production facility in Winnipeg, where it will produce a portfolio of pea and canola protein ingredients with exceptional functional and nutritional values. For more information, visit meritfoods.com.
About Pitura Seeds: Pitura Seeds owns and operates the largest family-owned seed processing facility in Western Canada. With a commitment to pedigreed seed that dates back to 1950 and spans three generations, today the company grows and contract produces over 35,000 acres of top-quality cereals, pulses and oilseeds on a yearly basis. Their industry-leading quality control, highly efficient seed processing and treating, and top tier agronomy team deliver the high standards their customers have come to trust. As part of the consortium, Pitura will work 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.
About The Winning Combination: Founded in 1999, The Winning Combination is one of Canada’s largest manufacturers of natural health products and nutrition supplements. Fully compliant with all Canadian and international quality control standards, The Winning Combination manufactures all of its products in accordance with GMP guidelines. Manufacturing and selling products in both domestic and global markets, The Winning Combination is active in virtually all health-related business channels leading to a better lifestyle and improving the lives of people. The Winning Combination will help Merit assess and confirm pea and canola protein functionality and stability. For more information, visit winning-combination.com.