The recent collaboration between YoFiit (a plant-based food-tech company founded in 2015 focused on plant-based milk alternatives that surpass the nutritional profile of cow’s milk), Avena Foods, and Roquette Canada, is Protein Industries Canada's (PIC) 23rd technology project surpassing more than CA$426m (US$333m) in plant-based food, feed, and ingredients investment for the non-profit organization.
The CA$1.7m (US$1.33m) project will showcase Canada’s capacity, not only as a supplier of quality ingredients, but also for embracing cutting-edge food technology and patent-pending processes to develop products that are unique in the plant-based protein global marketplace, said PIC.
“This project is yet another example of Canada’s growing potential in the production of plant-based products,” said François-Philippe Champagne, minister of innovation, science and industry of Canada.
“By supporting SMEs in agricultural, Protein Industries Canada is helping new ideas and products become a reality and allowing these companies to scale-up like never before by accessing new and growing markets in Canada and around the world.”
Last month, Protein Industries Canada (PIC) committed CA$12.8m to another project involving Ingredion, Ingredion Plant Based Protein Specialties (Canada), Verdient Foods, T Base 4 Investments, and O.M.D. Food Products exploring the expansion of applications for pulses in plant-based food and beverage products.
'... some very exciting firsts in Canada'
Avena and Roquette Canada have worked together previously on past Protein Industries Canada projects, including the creation of new plant-based protein ingredients that utilize Canadian crops. The newest project will be focused on finding innovative, direct applications for their ingredients in products such as YoFiit’s plant-based foods and beverages, while also bringing new ingredients and technical expertise to the project.
"By pairing YoFiit, a young start-up, with global leaders like Avena and Roquette Canada, innovation, commercialization and scale-up happens quicker – with the economic value and associated expertise staying in Canada,” added CEO of Protein Industries Canada Bill Greuel, who said that the partnership will in turn strengthen Canada's domestic food supply chain while creating jobs and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Avena and Roquette Canada will supply the ingredients for the project and will further explore the functionality and performance of their ingredients in different product applications with the goal of bringing plant-based food and beverage products to market which match or surpass the nutrition profile of their animal protein counterparts.
Earlier this month, Roquette announced the opening of its 200,000-square-foot pea protein plant in Manitoba, Canada, which has the capacity to process 125,000 tons of yellow peas per year.
Marie Amazan, CEO of YoFiit, which manufactures chickpea-based milk alternative products with 10g of protein and 0g of sugar per serving, said: “Through the project, we will have the opportunity to experiment with more Canadian-grown crops and expand our arsenal of plant-based dairy offerings as well as adjacent categories.
"With the food technology ecosystem we have built over the past few years, we will be in a position to pair our research and product development expertise with our partners’ ingredients knowledge to create some very exciting firsts in Canada."
Gord Flaten, CEO of Avena, commented that the collaboration will unlock new market opportunities for the company's tempered flours which beyond plant-based food applications, have the potential to perform well in beverages.