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PIC partners to improve plant protein functionality


November 11, 2020
By Protein Industries Canada

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Protein Industries Canada (PIC) recently announced an investment into a project aimed at opening new markets for pulse-based proteins by increasing their functionality in high-value ingredients.

Ingredion Inc., Ingredion Plant Based Protein Specialties (Canada) Inc., Verdient Foods Inc., T Base 4 Investments and O.M.D. Food Products are partnering to commercialize new technology that will improve the functionality of pulse-based ingredients. Initially focusing on yellow peas, the partners will use physical processing techniques to turn the commodities into ingredients that will be available to food processors and manufacturers in Canada and internationally.

“This innovative project is a great example of how the Protein Supercluster is playing an important role in the modernization of Canada’s plant protein sector,” said Navdeep Bains, minister of innovation, science and industry. “Through this collaborative effort, these companies are demonstrating what it truly means to be global innovation leaders by creating better tasting ingredients for plant-protein alternatives, and new markets for Canadian pulse growers.”

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“[This] partnership will help the plant proteins sector remain on the cutting edge of agricultural innovation,” said Marie-Claude Bibeau, minister of agriculture and agri-food. “This investment will both add value to Canadian pulse farmers’ crops and grow our exports.”

The project is expected to lead to the expansion of applications that will broaden the markets for pulses by improving their functionality as ingredients in plant-based protein products. Following the processing of yellow peas, the partners expect to shift their work to commodities such as lentils, chickpeas, green peas and fababeans. As it progresses, the project is expected to create up to 30 new Canadian jobs.

A total of $25.7 million has been committed to the project, with the partners investing $12.8 million and PIC committing an additional $12.8 million. The partners expect the pulse-based ingredients to be of interest to large-scale food processors and manufacturers throughout Canada and international markets, helping drive further investment into Canada’s economy and the plant protein sector.

With this being its 12th project announcement, PIC and its industry partners together have invested approximately $272 million into plant protein technology projects.