‘Better taste is a big deal’: Feds invest $9.5 M to make plant-based proteins taste better

WINNIPEG — A project in Western Canada aiming to improve the quality of plant-based proteins around the world has just got a $9.5 million boost from the federal government to remove the grit and make plant-taste foods taste better.

The Protein Industries Supercluster, which involves a consortium of three Manitoba-based companies, was topped up with private donations for a total of $19.1 million in funding to improve the protein industry in Canada.

“Hey, I’m a foodie. Better taste is a big deal,” Jim Carr, the Prime Minister’s special advisor for the Prairies said at a press conference on Friday. “As consumers become more and more discriminating in what they put into their tummies, this is going to move that needle significantly.”

plant-taste foods

(Source: Jamie Dowsett/ CTV News Winnipeg)

The investment will be sourcing about 20,000 acres worth of peas and canolas grown in western Canada, according to Ryan Bracken, a Co-CEO of Merit Functional Foods of Winnipeg, one of the companies involved in the project.

Brecken said this is expected to grow to over 100,000 metric tonnes of the protein products within three to five years.

“The initiative will help us commercialize the highest quality plant-based proteins manufactured here in Western Canada,” Brecken said, adding the initiative will focus on improving plant-based protein beverages, dairy alternative, and plant-based meat alternatives.

Carr said this kind of project is a perfect example of Canada growing and developing the kind of products the rest of the world needs.

“This protein supercluster serves as an anchor for innovation, for job growth and for job creation that will help Canada capture premium markets for agri-business as we truly feed the world,” Carr said. “We are letting the rest of the world know that Canada is a global leader in the plant-protein market.”

Carr said this investment is expected to create more than 50,000 jobs and grow Canada’s GDP.