Increasing plant-based food and beverage options through oat ingredient innovation


Partners will develop and commercialize innovative oat concentrates for new plant-based food and beverage products

Delta, B.C. – A new consortium of Canadian SMEs is working together to provide new, innovative oat-based products for Canadian and global consumers.

Plant Veda Foods Ltd., Avena Foods Ltd., HPP Canada and Thirstea Beverages Ltd., with a co-investment from Protein Industries Canada, will develop and commercialize cost-effective oat concentrates. These new oat concentrates will then be used to make new plant-based food and beverage products.

“With support from Protein Industries Canada, these companies are creating new, innovative processing methods for oat-based products,” said the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. “This project will provide Canadian companies and consumers with access to Canadian oats, stimulating our economy and cementing Canada’s position as a leader in the global plant-based food market.”

“Canadians are looking for new and innovative plant-based foods and beverages, and the demand for oat products continues to grow. Oat concentrates are an important ingredient in this growing market sector. Through Protein Industries Canada, we will continue to support businesses that add value to our crops and innovate, making our country a leader in plant-based proteins," said the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.

“With our economic recovery well under way, we want Canadian businesses to be able to seize new opportunities for growth,” said the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion. “That’s why we’re investing in innovative businesses right here in Delta that are creating good jobs and making Canada more competitive in the growing, global plant-based market.”

Plant Veda and Avena Foods will work together to transform Avena’s specialty milled oat flours into oat concentrates, which will be supplied to Thirstea Beverages and other manufacturers. Plant Veda and HPP Canada will focus on extending the shelf life of the concentrates by using high pressures, without the use of preservatives or chemicals. The final concentrates can be used by food manufacturers looking to produce oat-based food and beverage products – strengthening Canada’s integrated oat value chain and enabling companies to source Canadian grown and processed oat ingredients.

“Accelerating the development of oat concentrates for new, innovative plant-based food and beverage products will expand the healthy, sustainable food options available to Canadian and international consumers,” Protein Industries Canada CEO Bill Greuel said. “This consortium of SMEs is helping Canada achieve its goal of $25 billion in global plant-based food and ingredient sales by 2035, and is doing so by building on each others’ expertise.”

Plant Veda will apply these new oat concentrates to expand their product line with plant-based beverages, yogurts and frozen desserts. Thirstea Beverages will develop and commercialize new plant-based teas and beverages, swapping their dairy base with oat concentrates for Canadian and international markets.

“The signing of this cooperative initiative with Protein Industries Canada is a result of our firm's track record in developing award-winning plant-based formulations,” Sunny Gurnani, CEO of Plant Veda said. “Innovation does not take place in isolation, true product innovation requires the meeting of minds from myriad perspectives, that philosophy is at the heart of this cooperative project. The opportunity to utilize our proven proprietary product development cycle for an oat-based dairy alternative and subsequent products is in perfect alignment with our expansion plans. We look forward to a successful development and product launch in early 2023.”

“We are excited to be launching this collaborative Canadian project with customers, farmers, employees, service providers, technical experts and Protein Industries Canada,” Avena Foods CEO Gord Flaten said. “Support from Protein Industries Canada is critical in transitioning Avena’s products from promising food ingredients to an innovative suite of clean-label, nutritious and functional ingredients for food manufacturers. This project will help open up and expand important markets for farmers and provide significant benefits to consumers.”

“The team members of HPP have years of background in product development,” HPP Canada President Patricia Truter said. “We understand the potential benefits and applications of HPP past the traditional use in food preservation. HPP Canada is excited to start working with Plant Veda, Thirstea, and Avena Foods to expand the utilization of HPP technology to develop innovative natural food products.”

This project is valued at $989,000, with Protein Industries Canada committing half and the consortium contributing the remaining half. The consortium of Canadian SMEs is collaborating to accelerate innovation and compete in the global plant-based market.

Over the past three years, Protein Industries Canada and industry partners have invested more than $485 million into growing Canada’s plant-based food, feed and ingredient sector. The results of these investments include improved farming practices, increased sustainability, increased traceability, and the production of new ingredients and food products. Cumulatively, this will increase the choices available to Canadians on grocery store shelves, create jobs and improve the health of our environment. Protein Industries Canada’s goal is to grow Canada’s plant-based food sector to $25 billion a year by 2035 and create 17,000 jobs.

Media may contact:

Celeen George
Protein Industries Canada
Winnipeg, Man.

About Plant Veda Foods Ltd.

Plant Veda Foods Ltd. has a mission to accelerate humanity’s shift to a plant-based lifestyle. We remain clear in our goals: to improve the environment and humanity’s overall health through plant-based consumption. Our Company has succeeded in creating award-winning plant-based dairy alternatives, continuing to shake up the dairy-free market by creating unique, one-of-a-kind products that leave our customers forgetting about dairy to begin with.

About Avena Foods Ltd.

Avena Foods Limited is a specialty miller located on the Canadian Prairies that provides food, beverages, pet food and nutraceutical manufacturers throughout the world with sustainably grown and milled purity protocol oat and functional gluten-free pulse ingredients.

Avena builds partnerships with farmers and manufacturers to provide consumers with products that contain sustainably grown, specialty milled, high quality, safe and nutritious pulse and oat ingredients.

Avena’s specialty milled ingredients can be used to create clean-label, allergy-friendly, plant-based foods and beverages with a pleasing flavor and naturally balanced nutrition.

Partnering for safe, healthy diets and a sustainable world.

About HPP Canada

HPP Canada specializes in High Pressure Processing (HPP), which is a cold-pasteurization method that extends the shelf-life of food products up to 10 times. By applying extremely high pressures (600 MPa) to food and beverage products in their final packaging, any pathogens that are potentially contained within the products are killed and destroyed. The HPP process uses only hydrostatic water pressure to achieve this, making HPP a sustainable alternative to heat and chemical food preservation methods. HPP prevents premature spoilage of the products, ultimately leading to a large reduction in food wastage, which is a primary goal of HPP Canada.

About Thirstea Beverages Ltd.

Thirstea Beverages Ltd. is a Vancouver-based manufacturing company that was founded in 2019. Starting with just a pot of boiling water and an induction stove, Thirstea had developed numerous Asian-inspired ready-to-drink beverages and distributed them to more than 40 retailers across Canada. We focus on developing high-quality ready-to-drink beverages for our customers with the hope to create excitement for commercialized beverages.