Funding will enable Merit to significantly expand its new and disruptive plant protein technology
WINNIPEG, Manitoba — Merit Functional Foods, in consortium with Pitura Seeds and The Winning Combination, announces today that it has received a co-investment from Protein Industries Canada (PIC), which will facilitate the rapid growth of the new company.
PIC is an industry-led, not-for-profit organization committed to positioning Canada as a global source of high-quality plant protein ingredients. It is one of Canada’s five innovation superclusters, which are government-initiated efforts to significantly boost Canada’s job market, GDP, groundbreaking research, and bold innovations.
“This investment is exciting and empowering for Merit as it grows as a company,” Merit Co-CEO Ryan Bracken said. “It is helping us overcome many of the hurdles that new companies typically experience and, instead, unlocking numerous opportunities for us – including job creation, technology expansion, and more.”
With PIC’s support, Merit can now rapidly expand its ability to meet market demand for its plant-based proteins, including pea and canola. Merit is using Burcon NutraScience’s patented and disruptive protein extraction technology, which has been in development for more than 19 years.
The funding will also help bolster throughput, increase efficiency, decrease energy consumption, and reduce Merit’s environmental footprint. Merit anticipates adding more than 240 jobs over the coming months and years to support its growth.
“This project is a great example of why the Innovation Superclusters Initiative was created,” Protein Industries Canada CEO Bill Greuel said. “The consortium consists of businesses from across the value chain coming together to create new products not currently produced anywhere else in the world. This will increase the demand and value of some of Western Canada’s biggest agricultural commodities – peas and canola – and create new products to sell to customers across the globe.”
Merit is currently building its plant-based protein processing facility, where it will produce the world’s first high-purity, non-GMO canola protein. This will create a new value-added revenue stream for canola grown in Western Canada, which was previously limited to the extraction and sale of canola oil.
Further partnerships will involve Merit Functional Foods and Pitura Seeds of Domain, Manitoba, to develop best practices as it relates to pea and canola genetics, as well as to build standards for seed cleaning specifications necessary to achieve optimal protein.
“Pitura Seeds is proud to partner in this new project, which will bring significant value to Western Canadian farmers,” said Tom Greaves, Pitura Seeds President and General Manager.
Additionally, a partnership with The Winning Combination of Winnipeg will help Merit assess and confirm pea and canola protein functionality and stability.
“We are very excited to be working with two local businesses to produce a Manitoba product that meets the growing global demand in this space,” said Mark Colley, Chief Operating Officer of The Winning Combination.
Merit is also collaborating with the Manitoba Food Development Centre to perform functionality and applications work on Merit’s various by-product offerings to understand how they can be utilized.
Protein Industries Canada and Merit held an event to formally announce the grant on Jan. 10 at Merit’s site in Winnipeg.
“The support we’ve received from Protein Industries Canada thus far has been outstanding, and it is a crucial driver for our continued growth,” Bracken said. “We’re entering the new year grateful and determined, and we’re eager to start offering our protein to the market when our facility is completed in the fourth quarter of 2020.”
For more information on Merit Functional Foods, visit meritfoods.com.
About Merit Functional Foods
Established in 2019, Merit Functional Foods is committed to exceeding expectations for plant-based protein, providing the market with the highest quality protein ingredients and blends that offer unmatched purity, exceptional taste, and excellent solubility. Merit is building a state-of-the-art 94,000-square foot production facility in Winnipeg, where it will produce a portfolio of pea and canola protein ingredients with exceptional functional and nutritional values. For more information, visit meritfoods.com.
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 protein ingredients. It currently has 22 projects being evaluated for investment. The projects represent potential investment of more than $130 million and include projects from Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario. For more information, visit proteinindustriescanada.ca.
About Pitura Seeds
Pitura Seeds owns and operates the largest family-owned seed processing facility in Western Canada. With a commitment to pedigreed seed that dates back to 1950 and spans three generations, today the company grows and contract produces more than 35,000 acres of top-quality cereals, pulses, and oilseeds on a yearly basis. Its industry-leading quality control, highly efficient seed processing and treating, and top-tier agronomy team deliver the high standards its customers have come to trust. For more information, visit pituraseeds.ca.
About The Winning Combination, Inc.
Founded in 1999, The Winning Combination is one of Canada’s largest manufacturers of natural health products and nutrition supplements. Fully compliant with all Canadian and international quality control standards, The Winning Combination manufactures all of its products in accordance with GMP guidelines. Manufacturing and selling products in both domestic and global markets, The Winning Combination is active in virtually all health-related business channels leading to a better lifestyle and improving the lives of people. For more information, visit winning-combination.com.
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