Protein Supercluster investment to help find solutions to processing in cold climates and new pea and fava bean products.

Protein Industries Canada announced their sixth investment into a collaborative R&D project to help advance Canada’s plant protein ecosystem. The project brings together investment into new technologies and processes along with efforts to build capacity in Canada’s growing plant protein sector.

The project will see $19.2 million invested between Protein Industries Canada, Roquette and Prairie Fava. Together the consortium will work to address nutrition and processing challenges for pea and fava on the Prairies, while also exploring the utility of blended pea-fava protein products.

“Superclusters continue to demonstrate their convening power by bringing together large international players with Canadian SMEs and academic institutions. This project is expanding our ability to be a global leader in the production of plant protein, while exploring the market potential for blended pea-fava products. The training component will help create a next generation of specialists who can continue to power Canada’s agrifood sector,” said the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry.

The large project has several sub-activities ranging from breeding, to agronomic improvements, through to finished product testing and human clinical trials. Specifically, this project will address unique processing challenges associated with running a pea processing plant in Western Canada, such as how to mitigate the effects of cold weather. This knowledge will be key in further expanding Canada’s ability to be a global leader in the production of plant protein. Through its lifespan, it is expected that, in addition to the project consortium, 11 Canadian academic and research institutions and two additional SMEs will bring expertise and conduct research as part of this project. This will help train students, improve curricula and infrastructure, and build skills to support the development of a strong workforce for Canada’s agrifood sector.

“This project will be key to furthering Canada’s position as a global leader in plant protein,” said CEO of Protein Industries Canada Bill Greuel. “It’s building on Canada’s strength in pulse crop production and will bring solutions to overcome specific challenges with processing in Canada. It’s also taking technology from a Canadian SME and applying that to large-scale projects to help create new ingredients and end-products. The work undertaken on this project will truly build capacity across our ecosystem and bring benefit to Canadians through a stronger and more robust agrifood processing industry, right here in Canada.”

The pea portion of the research will start with evaluation of pea varieties in western Canada and their suitability for Roquette’s new plant. This will be followed with research on processing to improve the functional properties of the pea protein isolates.

“As a global leader in food, nutrition and health markets, Roquette has more than 40 years of experience in plant-protein research and development,” said Dominique Baumann, Managing Director, Roquette in Canada. “This PIC investment provides us with an opportunity to collaborate with Prairie Fava on developing and strengthening the value-chain for pulse crops across the Canadian Prairies. Growers, livestock producers, food innovators and consumers will all see the benefits of this supercluster funding.”

The fava portion of the research is largely focused on optimizing the dehulling and processing of fava beans by Prairie Fava, increasing their efficiency and reducing their costs of production. The partnership will also focus on the development of end-products and pea-fava ingredient blends.

“All aspects of the fava bean component will enhance the productivity, performance and competitiveness of the value-chain, from the farmer to the end-user,” said Hailey Jefferies, Co-Founder and CEO of Prairie Fava. “The partnership of Prairie Fava and Roquette, with the support of PIC, will lead to expanded skills development, research and development and, ultimately, capacity for the fava value-chain through boosting technical compatibility of collaborative research organizations and co-manufacturers working on fava.”

Protein Industries Canada is currently accepting expressions of interest through its third call for projects. With the inclusion of this project, Protein Industries Canada has invested $79 million into projects across Western Canada.

About Roquette

Roquette is a global leader in plant-based ingredients and a pioneer of new plant proteins.

In collaboration with its customers and partners, the group addresses current and future societal challenges by unlocking the potential of nature to offer the best ingredients for food, nutrition and health markets.

Each of these ingredients responds to unique and essential needs, and they enable healthier lifestyles. Thanks to a constant drive for innovation and a long-term vision, the group is committed to improving the well-being of millions of people all over the world while taking care of resources and territories.

Roquette currently operates in over 100 countries, has a turnover of around €3.7 billion and employs 8,670 people worldwide.

Roquette has invested over a half-billion euros in pea protein over five years, including almost €400 million (more than CAD$600 million) for construction of the world’s largest pea processing plant in Portage la Prairie, Man. The Portage Pea Plant facility will employ 120 people when it becomes operational at the end of 2020.

The potential for growers from the Canadian Prairies to supply enough yellow peas was an important consideration in selecting a location for the new plant.

About Prairie Fava

The food market is seeking new plant-based ingredients that are healthy, sustainable and have good functionality. Fava ingredients are gluten-free, are light in colour and flavour, have high density protein, are rich in nutrients, and come from an environmentally sustainable, non-GMO pulse crop. Fava ingredients can significantly improve flavor and texture and boost nutrition in foods. Prairie Fava (PF) is an agri-food ingredient company located in the heart of the Canadian prairies – Glenboro, Man. PF was established by Hailey and Cale Jefferies in 2015 and supplies whole fava bean, dehulled split fava bean, and raw and precooked fava flour.

PF is the “the fava bean company” supplying high-quality, healthy fava beans, fava ingredients and fava consumer products to the world. Current intellectual property includes the exclusive license in North America for a first ever fava bean variety with a low vicine/covicine content (DL Rico) owned by Manitoba-based seed developer DL Seeds/NPZ. PF has secured North American (IP/closed-loop) distribution rights, which provides a competitive advantage for fava marketed into the food industry. Their fava beans are grown sustainably, and they work closely with farmers to ensure high-quality standards. They’re dedicated to complete traceability and control of their beans, from seed to shelf. Their flour can be certified as kosher and halal. With plant-based ingredients on the rise, fava is a fantastic ingredient option to help meet demand.

SOURCE Protein Industries Canada