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Canola protein hits big time as Century seals deal with BioExx

By Elaine Watson , 11-Jul-2011
Last updated on 11-Jul-2011 at 14:50 GMT

A new range of foods and supplements based on canola protein is being developed by Hormel Foods’ Century Foods International division following a deal with protein specialist BioExx.

Interest in canola as an alternative to whey and other proteins has been growing in recent years, with developments driven by two Canadian firms: Toronto-based BioExx and Vancouver-based Burcon NutraScience.

Burcon, which received a no objections letter from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) affirming the GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status of its Puratein and Supertein canola protein isolates, is working with food giant ADM to explore the ”commercialization potential” of its canola proteins.

BioExx, meanwhile, has also recently filed a GRAS Notice with the FDA after securing self-affirmed GRAS for its Isolexx and Vitalexx canola proteins, and last week struck a deal with Century to co-develop a range of sports nurtition products to be manufactured and marketed by Century.

Canola has clear advantages over rival protein sources

According to BioExx, its canola proteins have clear advantages over many soy and whey proteins from a price, technical and nutritional perspective, with an amino acid profile “on a par with many animal proteins and superior to most vegetable proteins”.

Meanwhile its proprietary extraction system allows for the elimination of the traditional toasting/desolventizing stage in canola processing, ensuring low temperatures are maintained throughout the extraction of both the oils and proteins.

This means that BioExx can avoid the denaturing process that usually kicks in when proteins are exposed to high temperatures, which makes it harder to separate them from the meal and can reduce their solubility and functionality, claims the firm.

BioExx says it has also been able to improve the flavor and odor profile of canola proteins and decrease the ‘anti-nutrients’ that had historically hindered its use as a food grade material by up to 90 percent.

Meal replacements, nutritional beverages, supplements

Under the deal with Century, which covers the US and Canada, the partners will look at products including meal replacements, dietary supplements, weight-loss aids, powdered protein supplements, nutritional beverages and custom formulations.

The deal also specifies terms of a new agreement to be entered into by the parties within one year (subject to Century meeting minimum purchase requirements from BioExx) giving Century exclusive rights to market sports nutrition products using BioExx proteins to a pre-defined list of clients, said BioExx chief executive Chris Carl.

“Century's efforts in engaging its markets and clients have already commenced, and Century has been granted a non-exclusive license to purchase BioExx proteins immediately to meet its own needs and those of its clients. In addition, where BioExx requires agglomeration and instantizing for protein sales to its other customers, it will retain Century to provide those services.”

He added: “The combination of our unique canola protein isolates and Century's market-leading position can create a formidable presence for new products in US protein markets.”

Patented technology

BioExx, which operates a commercial scale facility in Saskatoon and is building a second plant in North Dakota, has three products: Advantexx80, a canola protein isolate at 80 percent or greater purity; Isolexx, a canola protein isolate at over 90 percent purity; and Vitalexx, a hydrolyzed canola protein at over 83% proteins/amino acids.

The firm, which recently made its first shipment from Saskatoon to distribution partner Helm AG, had experienced some teething problems when it first set up the plant, but said it had since made operational improvements that had increased plant efficiency.

Based in Wisconsin, Century Foods International is a leading manufacturer of private label nutritional products, providing agglomeration and blending, instantizing, ready-to-drink beverages, and filling and packaging. It also supplies some of the leading branded food and beverage manufacturers in the US.

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