Oat Canada, Roquette increase domestic oat ingredient innovation amid surging demand for plant-based dairy alternative products

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Toronto, Ont. – Today, Protein Industries Canada announced an investment into a project between Oat Canada, a rapidly growing oat-based food and beverage company, and Roquette, a global leader in plant-based ingredients. This $4.1 million project will see the development of novel oat ingredients and nutritionally superior oat-based food and beverage products.

“As more and more Canadians are turning to plant-based beverages, it is important that Canada can process dairy-alternative products all along the supply chain,” said the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. “This partnership between the Protein Industries Supercluster, Oat Canada and Roquette will help ensure that Canadians have access to plant-based foods and beverages that use crops grown and processed in Canada.”

“Oats account for a good part of Canada’s crops used in the production of plant-based beverages and ingredients. This project will increase oat-processing capabilities within the country, a value-added economic activity in Canada. It will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with exporting raw oats and importing oat ingredients. Processing more oats in Canada means greater choice for Canadians and a stronger supply chain,” said the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.

The growing global demand for new plant-based products developed using sustainable processes has led to an increased drive for innovation among Canada’s agrifood sector, including an increase in domestic processing of Canadian crops, such as oats. This project builds on Canada’s worldwide reputation as one of the largest producers of oats, now elevating Canada’s capacity to processing and diversifying oat utility.

“Creating an oat milk that is actually nutritious meant collaborating with industry leaders and inventing entirely new technology,” said Jamari Ambursley, Co-Founder/COO of Oat Canada. “In 2020, we launched our zero sugar oat milk product which was the first oat-protein based food and beverage products in Canada and we are very excited to expand our product offering. As sustainability and environmental concerns continue to shift consumer preferences to plant-based alternatives, innovation is necessary to deliver equivalent, if not better, nutritional value as animal-based products. We remain focused and committed to innovation and will continue to collaborate with partners and customers, to produce products that give people the freedom to choose plant-based without sacrificing nutrition, functionality or taste.”

“Roquette excels at innovation and research on plant-based ingredients, it’s at the heart of our work with food innovators like Oat Canada,” said Leon Zhou, Head of Research and Development for Roquette Americas. “Through our partnership with Oat Canada and the support of Protein Industries Canada, we are well positioned to continue our innovation and research on oat protein with the goal of meeting consumer demand for new and exciting plant-based food options.”

Leveraging this large supply and its strong reputation as an innovator, Roquette will develop Canada’s first oat-protein ingredient through the project. Oat Canada will test the ingredient in its current line of products as well as in several new products. The companies’ combined expertise will help meet the growing demand for healthy, sustainable plant-based foods and ingredients, including among Canadian consumers.

“Increasing our domestic ingredient processing capacity is one of the most important steps in strengthening Canada’s economy and food supply chain, as well as the health of our environment,” Protein Industries Canada CEO Bill Greuel said. “By processing and utilizing more of our plant-based ingredients at home, companies like Oat Canada and Roquette are helping reduce our sector’s carbon footprint and GHG emissions, while supplying Canadians—and consumers around the world—with healthy, sustainable food options. Together, they’re creating a healthier, stronger and more sustainable Canada for everyone along the value chain.”

The partnership will further Oat Canada’s commitment to producing dairy alternative food and beverage products made with Canadian oats that are high in protein, low in sugar and deliver maximum nutritional value to Canadian consumers and beyond. Research shows demand for plant-based dairy alternatives could grow to $62 billion USD by 2030–an increase of more than 92 per cent–and double in size to reach 10 per cent of the total dairy market.

For Roquette, this new partnership—the latest in a series of successful collaborations developed under Protein Industries Canada—will provide new opportunities related to the research and development of oat protein technology.

“Canada is home to an incredible plant-based food industry, and as demand on our food supply grows, Canadian companies will continue to look for ways to innovate and lead in a global market. On March 21 we launched the first National Plant Based Food Week to inspire Canadians to incorporate more plant-based foods in their diets. By prompting a conversation about the benefits and showcasing how easy it is to make small changes we can collectively contribute to a more sustainable environment,” said Leslie Ewing, Executive Director of Plant-Based Foods of Canada.

This marks Protein Industries Canada’s 37thproject announcement, and the 27th under their technology program. Together with industry, Protein Industries Canada has committed more than $451 million to Canada’s plant-based food, feed and ingredients ecosystem.

Media may contact:

Miranda Burski
Protein Industries Canada
Regina, SK
306-581-1340
miranda@proteinsupercluster.ca

About Protein Industries Canada

Protein Industries Canada is an industry-led, not-for-profit organization committed to positioning Canada as a global source of high-quality plant-based food and ingredients. Over the past three years, Protein Industries Canada, along with industry, has committed more than $451 million to the Canadian plant-protein sector, primarily through projects focused on research and development or building capacity within the sector. For more information, visit proteinindustriescanada.ca.

About Oat Canada

Oat Canada is an oat protein-based food and beverage company in Toronto, Ontario. In 2020, it launched the world’s first zero-sugar oat milk, drawing the attention of all six investors on CBC’s Dragons’ Den. Today, the product is available for sale in more than 1,300 stores across Canada, including major retailers such as Loblaws, Costco East, Longo’s and Whole Foods. It is committed to becoming a leader in oat-based food and beverage products, and to producing low-sugar, protein-enriched food and beverages for athletes and consumers, alike. For more information about Oat Canada, visit oatcanada.com.

About Roquette

Roquette is a global leader in plant-based ingredients, a pioneer of plant proteins and a leading provider of pharmaceutical excipients. The group addresses current and future societal challenges by unlocking the potential of nature to offer the best ingredients for food, nutrition and health markets. In collaboration with customers who are also passionate about the ongoing food revolution, Roquette contributes to developing a whole new cuisine that meets consumers’ demands.

In the pharma sector, Roquette offers solutions that play a critical role in medical treatments that cure and save lives.

Thanks to a constant drive for innovation and a long-term vision, the group is committed to improving the well-being of millions of people all over the world, while taking care of resources and territories. Founded in 1933, Roquette is a family-owned company that operates in more than 100 countries, has a turnover of around 3.5 billion euros, and employs 8,360 people worldwide.

Roquette in Canada operates its brand new, state-of-the-art pea protein plant, the largest of its kind in the world, in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba. At capacity, the plant will employ 120 people and process 125,000MT of yellow peas annually. Products produced at the plant include NUTRALYS® pea protein, food-grade pea starch and pea-based ingredients suitable for pet food and livestock nutrition. Roquette, the anchor tenant of Canada’s growing plant-based protein sector, has invested more than half a billion euros in pea protein over the past five years, including more than CAD$600 million of its own funds for construction of the Portage pea protein plant.

Roquette has successfully participated in three PIC projects, including its collaboration with Oat Canada.

For more information about Roquette, visit Roquette.com.