Prioritizing taste and texture, new plant-based fish filet would be first of its kind in Canada
Toronto, Ontario — Today, Protein Industries Canada announced a co-investment with New School Foods and Liven Proteins into the development of plant-based seafood products. The project will focus on developing a whole muscle, plant-based fish filet that emulates the same texture, taste and cooking experience of fish, creating a product that appeals to the mass-market consumer.
This co-investment will allow New School Foods to expand its research and development efforts by partnering with additional universities and private laboratories, allowing them to more quickly and successfully achieve their product development goals. It will also accelerate Liven’s development of protein ingredients through its precision fermentation platform, and will enable Liven to bring these ingredients to the marketplace. Liven will contribute their novel specialty protein ingredients to the project, to enhance the sensory and cooking experience of the plant-based seafood products.
“Thanks to this project, Canadians can look forward to seeing new foods developed and produced right here in Canada. This kind of innovation demonstrates the endless potential for harnessing Canadian crops in new ways to create good jobs and new economic opportunities in communities across Canada,” said the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry.
“Residents in Mississauga-Erin Mills want more choices to protect our environment and grow our economy, and that is what we are delivering. These plant-based seafood solutions will create opportunities for local farmers, reduce overfishing, push forward our net-zero goals, and build Canada's global reputation as a centre for sustainable innovation,” said Ms. Iqra Khalid, Member of Parliament for Mississauga—Erin Mills.
The partners will test Liven’s fermentation-based, animal-free proteins in combination with other plant-based proteins, including Canadian-sourced pea, canola and fava protein. While canned and stick-form plant-based fish varieties are available in retail locations across Canada, plant-based fish products are not yet available as a whole muscle, unbreaded filet, nor do they offer texture that is as flaky as fish. This would provide consumers with new sustainable meat alternative options that more accurately mirror actual seafood.
“Among the top demands from Canadian consumers are choice, great taste and appealing texture in plant-based food products,” Protein Industries Canada CEO Bill Greuel said. “New School Foods and Liven are developing seafood alternatives that deliver on all three, while their fish-alternative filets will create a new market opportunity for Canada’s plant-based food sector as a whole. It’s a true representation of the leadership our sector is capable of on a global scale.”
A total of $1.9 million has been committed to the project, with Protein Industries Canada co-investing half of the funds and New School Foods and Liven together investing the remaining half.
"This is an ambitious project and we couldn't be more excited to tackle it in partnership with Protein Industries Canada and Liven,” New School Foods Founder Chris Bryson said. “This co-investment is entirely focused on R&D, enabling us to accelerate our mission of creating ground-breaking plant-based products with global impact.”
“We are thrilled to be a part of this consortium with New School Foods to bring plant-based fish filet to Canadian consumers’ plate. The co-investment from Protein Industries Canada is essential to the development and commercialization of Liven’s protein ingredients," Liven CEO Fei Luo said. “Our goal is to provide novel ingredients that enable plant-based foods to achieve nutritional parity and sensory experience of traditional animal products, and thereby attracting consumers toward sustainable plant-based diets.”
This project is Protein Industries Canada’s 20th under their Technology program, and their 21st overall. Together with industry, they have invested more than $377 million to the Canadian plant-based food, feed and ingredients sector. They’re currently seeking Expressions of Interest for short-cycle projects under their Technology program stream, with a focus on commercialization and near-term market potential. They are also accepting ongoing Expressions of Interest as part of their Capacity Building programs.
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Protein Industries Canada
About New School Foods
Founded in 2020 by Chris Bryson, New School Foods Inc. develops plant-based substitutes for seafood that emulate the same texture, taste, nutritional benefits and cooking experience of conventional seafood. The company is currently developing a whole-muscle filet of fish as its first product.
About Liven Proteins
Liven is a precision fermentation company offering novel functional protein ingredients that can be used by the plant-based food industry to enhance the sensory qualities of food formulations. They make animal-free protein ingredients with identical textures and functional properties as animal proteins. Liven’s protein ingredients are produced by fermenting agri-food co-products, creating a circular economy.