Seed World

New Partnership to Improve Protein Content of Pulse-Based Products

Protein Industries Canada announced an investment into a project that will lead to the development of new, high-protein pulse-based ingredients for the non-dairy beverage market.

GrainFrac Inc., Tomtene Seed Farm and Ripple Foods PBC are partnering to develop and utilize specialized dry processing technology patented by GrainFrac. This technology will process pulses chosen and supplied by Tomtene Seed Farm into fine flours, whose starches and proteins will then be separated in order to extract as much protein as possible into concentrates and isolates. Ripple Foods plans to test these ingredients in 36 new beverage formulations, in response to the rising demand for plant-based dairy-alternative beverages.

“This is a great example of how Canadian innovators are harnessing clean technologies to produce high-quality, protein-based dairy-alternative products to meet growing demand. The efforts of the Protein Industries Canada supercluster help ensure that Canadians have access to plant-based options that use crops from Canadian farmers and cost-effective processing technologies,” says the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry.

“Canada’s food processing sector is an economic powerhouse and continues to adapt to changes in consumer preferences. This multinational partnership will use a Canadian innovation and pulses to bring new beverages to market across North America. Made possible through the Protein Industries Canada supercluster, this is exactly the type of project the Government is proud to stand behind, showcasing Canadian ingenuity and high-quality Canadian agriculture and value-added manufacturing. As demand for beverages that incorporate plant-based protein grows, our pulse producers and food processors stand ready to fill the world’s needs,” says Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.

Initial testing showed pea flour processed using the technology had a protein content almost nine per cent higher than that processed using a pin-milled method. The ingredients shown to have the highest protein content will be used in Ripple Foods’ formulations, as well as marketed to other processors and manufacturers outside of the partnership following the completion of the project.

“Consumers around the globe are looking for new alternatives to dairy beverages, and their demand for those products is rising quickly,” Protein industries Canada CEO Bill Greuel says. “GrainFrac, Tomtene Seed Farm and Ripple Foods will soon be providing them with new options, both here in Canada and in some of the world’s largest plant-based food markets, including the United States. And by utilizing Canadian-grown crops in their work, they’ll bring us closer to our goal of Canada becoming a global leader in plant based ingredients and food.”

The investment is expected to help both introduce new products to the market as well as scale up GrainFrac’s processing technology. This scale-up will help GrainFrac quantify the environmental benefits associated with the technology’s dry processing capabilities, including its reduction in water use.

Together, Protein Industries Canada, GrainFrac, Tomtene Seed Farm and Ripple Foods are investing $4.3 million into the project. Protein Industries Canada is committing half of the investment, with GrainFrac, Tomtene Seed Farms and Ripple Foods joining to commit the remaining half.

“The GrainFrac team is thrilled to be collaborating with Protein Industries Canada, Tomtene Seed Farm and Ripple Foods to create more plant protein production capacity in Canada,” GrainFrac President Brad Shapka says. “The Protein Industries Canada co-investment is essential to our development of capacity to meet growing demand using our novel patented technology to lower the cost and energy requirements to produce plant protein ingredients. Our goal is to become the premier Canadian supplier of a variety of plant protein ingredients based on our more sustainable cost-effective production capacity and strong demand driven strategic partnerships.”

“We at Tomtene Seed Farm are extremely excited to be working with Proteins Industries Canada, GrainFrac and Ripple Foods to help develop this more effective technology of producing plant-based proteins,” Tomtene Seed Farm Owner Steve Tomtene says. “Our hope is that we can provide a seamless collaboration of skills and capacity to produce the most efficient, highest quality plant-based protein concentrates and isolates for the growing demand of specialized ingredients and plant-based proteins.”

“Ripple Foods is delighted to be a part of this historic partnership with GrainFrac, Tomtene Seed Farm, and Protein Industries Canada,” Ripple Foods Research and Development Lead Celia Homyak says. “We have been testing plant proteins in plant-based products for the past five years and looking forward to combining our expertise in plant-based products with that of Tomtene Seed Farm and GrainFrac for better vertical integration in addition to utilizing advanced protein processing technologies. Additionally, we are honored to be in collaboration with Protein Industries Canada, who has been at the fore front of plant protein technology.”

This marks Protein Industries Canada’s 16th Technology project announcement. Together with industry, they’ve invested more than $320 million into Canada’s plant-protein sector. They are currently accepting Expressions of Interest for both their Technology and Capacity Building programs.