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Industry NewsProtein Industries Canada announces $19.2M investment to develop plant-based ingredients and food...

Protein Industries Canada announces $19.2M investment to develop plant-based ingredients and food products for CPG brands

Protein Industries Canada has announced a $19.2 million investment with Avena Foods to create new and sustainable consumer ingredient options as demand for the products on retailers’ shelves increases.

Avena Foods will develop new oat and pulse ingredients that will be used by Big Mountain Foods, Danone Canada and Old Dutch to replace various common ingredients and processing aids in their products. The initiative aims to introduce new consumer offerings, including allergy-friendly alternatives.

“Investment into ingredient manufacturing is an untapped economic opportunity for Canada, and this project is an example of what is possible when we take our widely-available Canadian crops such as pulses and oats to create new ingredients and food,” said Bill Greuel, CEO of Protein Industries Canada. “With the scale-up of ingredient processing, we can produce ingredients with enhanced functionality that can better meet the demand of consumers when it comes to taste, texture, and nutritional benefits.”

The $19.2 million will go mainly toward research and development related to ingredient manufacturing and creating new food products. Protein Industries Canada is contributing $7.3 million to the project, a statement reads.

Avena Foods will play a pivotal role by optimizing and refining specialty-milled oats and pulse flours, alongside creating specialty-milled pulse grits, meals, and flours tailored to each customer’s unique processes. These minimally processed components will be reformulated to create new food products that are ready for consumers and offer nutritional advantages. A statement claims they are made using sustainably sourced, clean-label oat and pulse components.

“Avena welcomes this investment from Protein Industries Canada, and the opportunity to work collaboratively with our customers,” said Wayne Arsenault, CEO of Avena Foods. “Our goal is to provide exactly what they need from our deck of functional and nutritious oat and pulse ingredients, and to further support them with sustainability metrics, such as life cycle assessment for our ingredients.”

Veggie links, plant-based beverages among products anticipated for Big Mountain Foods, Danone Canada and Old Dutch

Big Mountain Foods, Danone Canada and Old Dutch are set to leverage the optimized new ingredients from Avena to create a range of innovative products.

These include new snack options and reformulated products, spanning yogurt, plant-based beverages and creamers, veggie links, cutlets, pastries, fillings and alternative non-soy/non-fava tofu products.

“Big Mountain Foods is on an exciting journey into the realm of food service, marking a historic milestone for our brand. With the invaluable support of Protein Industries Canada, we are poised to revolutionize the culinary landscape by crafting offerings tailored for the diverse needs of large institutions, including hospitals, long-term care facilities, restaurants, universities, and beyond,” said Jasmine Byrne, chief operating officer of Big Mountain Foods.

Additionally, Danone Canada says the partnership will help the company develop healthy and sustainable products locally.

“Danone Canada’s mission is to bring health through food to as many people as possible, so we are thrilled to be part of this project with Avena Foods, which will allow us to produce even more healthy and sustainable products locally,” said Pierre Morin, vice president of research and innovation at Danone Canada.

Meanwhile, Old Dutch says the move will introduce new snacking possibilities for customers searching for healthy food options.

“Old Dutch Foods is committed to our ‘Quality Lives Here’ claim beyond traditional snack categories blending quality, taste, and innovative ingredients to build snacks that transcend expectations adding new benefits for consumers,” said Scott Kelemen, senior national director of brand and market strategy at Old Dutch Foods.

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