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Industry NewsRising plant-based and alternative protein investments driving innovation at a rapid pace:...

Rising plant-based and alternative protein investments driving innovation at a rapid pace: Report

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Innovations in plant-based meat and protein sources, dairy and egg alternatives, cultivated meat and alternative protein fermentation are all on the rise, thanks to rapidly growing investment in the sector, as reported by USA News Group. According to the Good Food Institute, in 2021, investment in these types of companies reached US$5.1 billion, up by 61 per cent from 2020’s investment of US$3.1 billion. Governments across multiple countries have also been increasing their investments in plant proteins including Canada’s commitment to $100 million for Canada’s plant-based industry, and the European Union pledging €10 Billion (~US$11 billion) as part of a larger green transition plan with a focus on plant-based proteins.

It’s the private sector that seems to be moving forward the most innovations, including Canadian companies Nepra Foods, Merit Foods and Winecrush.

According to the report, Nepra has made significant strides by developing its proprietary product known as Textured Hemp Protein (THP)—a nutritious plant-based and allergen-free food, currently used in wholesale ingredients and consumer packaged goods—a category currently dominated by products containing gluten and dairy.

Last fall, a joint venture involving Burcon NutraScience Corporation, dubbed Merit Functional Foods, received a co-investment from industry-led, not-for-profit organization Protein Industries Canada to develop quality meat alternatives. Merit Functional Foods is partnering with Winecrush Technology, Wamame Foods and Wismettac Asian Foods to develop and distribute a line of meat alternatives to pork and Wagyu beef.

“This additional funding support from Protein Industries Canada will help to strengthen Merit Foods’ position as the premier Canadian producer of innovative plant-based protein ingredients for the global food and beverage markets,” said Burcon’s president and CEO Johann F. Tergesen.

Using Protein Industries Canada’s injection of $7.6 million, the joint venture project involves Merit Foods and Winecrush Technology each providing plant-based ingredients for new meat alternative products to be distributed throughout Europe, Asia and North America.

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