Strategically increasing Eastern Canada’s processing capacity

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Partners will assess possible locations for new soy processing plant

Canada’s plant-based food and ingredients sector has incredible potential. It’s anticipated that, through collaborative and innovative work, the sector can reach $25 billion in annual global sales by 2035, boosting the country’s economy while providing new food options for consumers around the world to enjoy. Reaching that goal, however, will require a significant increase in processing capacity across the country.

To help accomplish that increase, David J. Hendrick International (DJHII), ProSoya and the Eastern Canada Oilseed Development Alliance (ECODA), with a co-investment from Protein Industries Canada, are partnering to assess the feasibility of a commercial soy powder processing plant in Eastern Canada. Should they find a location that would prove feasible and cost-effective, the partners will collaborate with an international partner to build the facility, eventually offering a soymilk powdered beverage to consumers in North America and Japan.

“Our plant-based food and ingredients sector has seen incredible growth over the past several years, but there’s more we need to do to meet our $25 billion potential—with one of the most important steps being increasing our processing capacity,” Protein Industries Canada CEO Bill Greuel said. “By strategically determining what regions of the country can best support new facilities, our sector can further grow to meet the global demand for plant protein, while ensuring Canadians have secure, fulfilling jobs and a strong economy for generations to come.”

With a limited selection of finished soybean products currently being manufactured in Canada, there’s space in the sector for new players to enter the market. Canadian ingredient processors have, in recent years, worked to develop new soy protein ingredients, using Canadian-grown and -processed soybeans. Building a new commercial manufacturing facility would help complete a full seed-to-finished-good value chain in the country, increasing long-term job opportunities and strengthening the economy.

“Building on our record of leadership and excellence in soy variety development and global exports, we want to take the next step : assess the business feasibility of building a Canadian manufacturing facility for a soy powder protein ingredient,” DJHII CEO David Hendrick said. “Canada needs further processing capacity, and, together with our Japan sponsor and the world’s best soybean producers, we intend to search for plant protein business opportunities in our country.”

As part of the project, DJHII, ProSoya and ECODA will look at factors such as available and accessible resources, nearby distribution centres, and other socio-economic impacts. The partners will also take into account the technical aspects of producing soymilk powder, helping ensure any facility built would have the capacity to manufacture products acceptable to both North American and Japanese markets.

It’s expected that, should the feasibility study determine an appropriate location, Canada’s soybean sector would experience an economic boost, as the facility would increase demand for Canadian-grown and -processed soybeans. At the same time, keeping the full soybean value chain in Canada would help reduce the country’s carbon footprint through a reduction in food miles—increasing the sector’s ability to provide consumers with the healthy, sustainable plant-based products they’re looking for while securing our domestic food supply chain.

“As a facilitator of oil seed supply chain partnerships that take novel production and processing technologies to commercial success, ECODA appreciates the support of Protein Industries Canada in conducting this feasibility assessment,” said Rory Francis, ECODA Board Chair.

A total of $386,500 has been committed to the study, with Protein Industries Canada committing $193,250 and the partners together committing the remaining half. The study is currently underway and expected to be complete by March 2023.