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Industry NewsProtein Industries Canada invests $4.1 M in oat-based food, beverage development

Protein Industries Canada invests $4.1 M in oat-based food, beverage development

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Protein Industries Canada is investing $4.1 million in a project to support the growth of oat-based food and beverage products in Canada.

The funding is for a project between Oat Canada, an oat-based food and beverage company, and Roquette, a plant-based ingredients business that will see development of “novel oat ingredients” for innovative plant-based food and beverage.

Leveraging Protein Industries Canada’s large supply, Roquette will develop Canada’s first oat-protein ingredient through the project. Oat Canada will test the ingredient in its current line of products as well as in several new products. The companies’ combined expertise will help meet the growing demand for healthy, sustainable plant-based foods and ingredients, including among Canadian consumers.

The growing global demand for new plant-based products developed using sustainable processes has led to an increased drive for innovation among Canada’s agrifood sector, including an increase in domestic processing of Canadian crops, such as oats. This project builds on Canada’s worldwide reputation as one of the largest producers of oats, now elevating Canada’s capacity to process and diversify oat utility. Research shows demand for plant-based dairy alternatives could grow to $62 billion USD by 2030–an increase of more than 92 per cent–and double in size to reach 10 per cent of the total dairy market.

“Creating an oat milk that is actually nutritious meant collaborating with industry leaders and inventing entirely new technology,” says Jamari Ambursley, Oat Canada Co-Founder/COO. “In 2020, we launched our zero sugar oat milk product which was the first oat-protein-based food and beverage products in Canada and we are very excited to expand our product offering. As sustainability and environmental concerns continue to shift consumer preferences to plant-based alternatives, innovation is necessary to deliver equivalent, if not better, nutritional value as animal-based products. We remain focused and committed to innovation and will continue to collaborate with partners and customers, to produce products that give people the freedom to choose plant-based without sacrificing nutrition, functionality, or taste.”

“Roquette excels at innovation and research on plant-based ingredients, it’s at the heart of our work with food innovators like Oat Canada,” said Leon Zhou, Head of Research and Development for Roquette Americas. “Through our partnership with Oat Canada and the support of Protein Industries Canada, we are well-positioned to continue our innovation and research on oat protein with the goal of meeting consumer demand for new and exciting plant-based food options.” 

Protein Industries Canada says the partnership will further Oat Canada’s commitment to producing dairy alternative food and beverage products made with Canadian oats. 

Leslie Ewing, executive director of Plant-Based Foods of Canada adds that “Canada is home to an incredible plant-based food industry, and as demand on our food supply grows, Canadian companies will continue to look for ways to innovate and lead in a global market. On March 21 we launched the first National Plant-Based Food Week to inspire Canadians to incorporate more plant-based foods in their diets. By prompting a conversation about the benefits and showcasing how easy it is to make small changes we can collectively contribute to a more sustainable environment.” 

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