Farmers will soon see more opportunities for pulse production and processing in the near future.
Protein Industries Canada and a consortium of partners are working on creating one of the most functional plant protein ingredients on the market using peas and lupins.
Project partners include More Than Protein Ingredients Ltd., Quantum Mechanical Technology Inc., and Hamman Ag Research Inc.
More Than Protein Ingredients will be building a dedicated commercial-scale innovation line that will take plant-based protein extraction to the next level, producing the next generation of food protein ingredients.
As well, More Than Protein Ingredients is constructing a new processing facility near Bowden, Alberta.
Protein Industries Canada is investing $5.7 million into the $29 million project, with the balance of the funding coming from the other consortium partners.
CEO of Protein Industries Canada Bill Greuel says the ability to innovate along the value chain, from crop production through to ingredient processing and the finished food product, is what sets Canada apart from other jurisdictions.
"Our integrated value chain and commitment to innovation, as we see in this project, is how we can build on our strengths to help Canada reach our goal of having a $25 billion plant-based ingredient and food sector by 2035."
He notes with a global market that is expected to surpass $250 billion by 2035, there is increased competition to create the best plant-based foods on the market, and for companies and countries to differentiate themselves from competitors.
The group will be working with pea and lupin, and will first focus on the breeding and agronomic level to improve the protein quantity and quality of yellow peas.
Following that is pre-treatment to help prepare the crops for ingredient processing. Quantum Technologies will apply gentle Modified Wave Technology to improve hull removal and optimize the flavour and nutrient profile of the crops.
The final step is scaling up innovative processing technologies to produce functional protein ingredients for Plant-Based consumer food manufacturers.
More Than Protein Ingredients will be building a dedicated commercial-scale innovation line that will take plant-based protein extraction to the next level producing the next generation of food protein ingredients.
COO of Quantum Mechanical Technology Inc Leonard Yungwirth says they are proud to be part of this consortium."Being a part of this collaboration, allows us to work with companies like More Than Protein Ingredients, and to apply our technology to help create solutions for the ingredient sector."
Kevin McGeough, the CEO of More Than Protein Ingredients Ltd says this line will play a pivotal role in developing new plant-based proteins, starch fibers, and sugars.
"For Canadian food manufacturers that are looking for plant-based ingredients that deliver better functionality, and improve the sensory experience for the customers. For example, a plant-based protein that FSA emulsifies similar to an egg yolk used to produce mayonnaise."
Dr. Bill Hamman of Hamman Ag Research has been involved in agriculture research in Western Canada since 1973.
"This is one of the most exciting agronomy projects I have been involved in for the last 50 years. Working with the consortium, we will work to increase the percent Protein levels in peas. An improved high-yielding pea crop produced in Western Canada that has a higher percent protein is of benefit to farmers, processors, and the consumer."
McGeough says the Innovation line will provide new market opportunities for farmers. "This will enable the development of new protein sources for new crops such as lupins, enabling farmers to diversify their crops. It will enable the development of commercial-scale protein extraction processes for new plant-based proteins that enabled food manufacturers to develop new and improved alternative dairy and meat products."
Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau says this project is a great example of how the Canadian plant-protein ecosystem is collaborating at every step of the value-chain and establishing itself as a global leader.
"Innovative and sustainable technologies are transforming Canada’s agriculture sector and moving it towards the future. Growing consumer demand around the world for plant-based protein and interest in how food is produced are leading our companies to develop and improve plant-based ingredients while reducing water usage and waste."
Gruel says with a global market that is expected to surpass $250 billion by 2035, there is increased competition to create the best plant-based foods on the market, and for companies and countries to differentiate themselves from competitors.
Alberta's Minister for Agriculture and Resource Development, Nate Horner says with our competitive business environment and abundance of agricultural expertise, Alberta is well-positioned to be a global source of high-quality protein and plant-based products.
The More Than Protein facility at Bowden is scheduled to be operational by the Spring of 2023 and will employ about 60 people, and over 120 indirect jobs.