Seed World

New Partnership to Create Canadian-Made Plant-Based Foods

Protein Industries Canada has announced a project focused on creating new plant-based foods using pulses grown and processed on the Prairies.

The $11.3 million-dollar project will see a consortium of AGT Food and Ingredients and ulivit work together to process pea, lentil and faba bean protein concentrate into high moisture meat analogue, Texturized Pulse Protein (TPP), tempeh, tofu, pasta and non-dairy analogues. These ingredients will then be further developed into market-ready food for the consumer and restaurant.

This project brings together AGT, considered one of the founders of Canada’s plant protein industry, with ulivit,, a young company led by two female entrepreneurs, to execute projects that will contribute to revolutionizing the plant-based food market. Building off each other’s experience and expertise, they will use dry fractioned pulses as feedstock to create high-protein products using green production methods that will consume less energy and water than existing commercial processes.

“This project is exciting on so many levels,” CEO of Protein Industries Canada Bill Greuel said. “First of all, it is a classic example of how the cluster is supposed to work — a collaboration between large and micro companies to bring new innovations to the market. Secondly, its benefit to Canadians — from the farmer growing the pulse crops who will now have more options to sell their product closer to home, to the processors and packagers in the middle who employ Canadians across the country, to the consumer looking to introduce more tasty and innovative plant-protein products into their diet.”

It is expected that the demand for plant-based products will only continue to grow, and that increasingly consumers will look for many food products that are flexitarian in nature — meaning that they blend the type of products that AGT and ulivit will create, such as TPP and other pulse ingredients with meat to provide an alternative that is not one or the other, but both.

“We are very happy to work with ulivit on innovative new projects through the PIC Supercluster program,” said Murad Al-Katib, president and CEO of AGT. “Development of applications for plant-based foods and the ingredients that are used to make them has been a significant part of AGT’s strategy over the past decade. We were at the forefront leading what is now seen by many as the plant-based revolution. Meat alternatives, like those we see in many products in the marketplace, have really gained traction with consumers as they search out new and innovative products that are good for them and taste good as well. The critical R&D and production work needed to predict what consumers may be looking for and provide products that fit their tastes is key, not only to AGT’s growth but for emerging companies like ulivit and the pulse food sector overall. Saskatchewan and Canada are the first stop on the protein highway, and we look forward to continuing to innovate, produce and assist in growing a new segment of an exciting sector. PIC helps us to accelerate this growth trajectory we are on.”

“We are super excited to collaborate with Protein Industries Canada and AGT on this project. At ulivit we want to make the world a healthier and happier place with plant-based foods,” founder of ulivit Laura Gustafson said. “The Supercluster program is a game changer for ulivit. It creates opportunities that would have been difficult, if not impossible, to achieve. Opportunities associated with AGT’s global leading team, ingredients, infrastructure, experience, and relationships that will propel our company. We are thrilled AGT and PIC are part of our plant-protein journey and look forward to creating delicious and sustainable plant-based foods for Canadians and the world.”

This project represents the seventh project announced by Protein Industries Canada. Since June of last year Protein Industries Canada and industry consortiums have invested more than $100 million into Canada’s plant protein ecosystem. Protein Industries Canada’s third call for Expressions of Interests (EOIs) is now open.