There are plenty of reasons why an internationally based food manufacturer would choose to open a new facility in Canada: our skilled workforce, our local supply of high-quality commodities and our world-renowned agri-research sector are just a few examples.
And all of them are reasons why Meatless Farms, based out of the United Kingdom, recently opened Lovingly Made Ingredients in Calgary, Alta. The 33,000-square-foot facility will act as the company’s ingredient processor, providing Meatless Farms and other food manufacturers with a supply of high-quality, sustainable, plant-based textured protein ingredients.
Lovingly Made Ingredients’ search for a new location within Canada started in 2019, when the owners of Meatless Farms recognized their increasing need for more consistent ingredients. Calgary felt like a natural choice, due to its local distribution hubs, ease of market access, direct flights to the United Kingdom and, of course, its agricultural surroundings.
“Meatless Farms’ growth … really amplified the gaps in the marketplace for supply and consistency,” Lovingly Made Ingredients Sales Manager Lindsay Sutton said. “The team finally said, ‘You know, we realize where peas are grown.’ Canada kept coming up when he was looking as a really good, obviously, awesome standards for farming, and really met their sustainability standards within Meatless Farms.”
Currently, Lovingly Made Ingredients primarily develops plant-based textured protein ingredients for end-use customers such as Meatless Farms for use in their meat analogue products. However, the company is also looking at developing its own line of consumer-facing products, including extruded snacks and cereals, meal kits, and frozen items.
Having a local source for the plant-protein commodities used in these products is important to the team at Lovingly Made Ingredients, due in large part to their sustainability effects. Keeping the processing of Canadian crops within Canada helps not only improve the country’s economy, but also reduce environmental effects related to transport. The Lovingly Made Ingredients facility, for example, is expected to have net zero carbon emissions before the end of 2021, and will improve upon that in 2022, due in part to reduced transport of commodities.
“Sustainability is within our core, it’s woven into everything we do,” Sutton said. “Right now, a lot of the peas grown in Canada get shipped to other countries to get processed … but then they get shipped back here for us to use. So we hope to kind of bridge that gap between what’s happening within Canada, and we can utilize some of those value chains more effectively.
The facility is currently able to process 6,000 MT per year on one production line, with room to grow as its demand increases in the future. While its partnerships are still being confirmed, the team is looking at utilizing protein sources from some of Canada’s market leaders, including other members of Protein Industries Canada.