Seed World

Partnership will Develop Pea, Hemp Varieties for Processing

Investment will increase protein content and improve functionality of Canadian pea and hemp varieties.

Today, Protein Industries Canada announced a partnership to help build on the use of pea and hemp in plant-based food and ingredients.

NRGene Canada, Farmers Business Network Canada, Inc., Pulse Genetics and Manitoba Harvest are coming together to develop new pea and hemp varieties for use in food and ingredient processing, including a new pea-hemp flour blend. The partners will focus on increasing the protein content and improving the starch content and texture of ingredients derived from the new varieties, potentially increasing their use in plant-based foods and beverages across Canada and internationally.

Pulse Genetics will focus on improving Canada’s well-established pea sector, while Farmer’s Business Network Canada, Inc. will focus on the country’s growing hemp sector; both will utilize NRGene’s genomics technology in their efforts to develop new varieties.

While commercialization of the new varieties won’t occur until after the project’s completion, Manitoba Harvest will work with existing varieties to develop a pea-hemp flour blend that will become a base formulation they will improve upon once access to the new varieties becomes available.

“Through this project, NRGene, Farmers Business Network Canada, Inc., Pulse Genetics and Manitoba Harvest are displaying the diverse commodities Canada has to offer, while also helping meet the needs of food manufacturers and consumers,” Protein Industries Canada CEO Bill Greuel said.

“By focusing on an established protein crop, like peas, and one that’s still growing in popularity, like hemp, they’re helping diversify our sector even further—an important step in opening new markets and establishing the country as a leader in meeting consumer plant-based food demands.”

The development of these new varieties, as well as the pea-hemp flour blend, is expected to create new market opportunities along Canada’s plant-based food and ingredients value chain, including for farmers, ingredient processors and food manufacturers. The utilization and scaling up of NRGene’s genomics technology will also supply researchers and crop breeders with advanced breeding tools that will shorten breeding cycles, particularly for pea and hemp varieties.

NRGene, Farmer’s Business Network Canada, Inc., Pulse Genetics and Manitoba Harvest are together investing $3.3 million into the project, with Protein Industries Canada investing an additional $1.8 million. The total project investment is $5.1 million.