Building on Success


With recent re-capitalization of the Protein Industries Canada cluster and increasing growth in the plant-based ecosystem both domestically and internationally, Canada is gaining ground as the place to do business when it comes to plant-based food, feed and ingredients.

“During Fund l, we formed over 50 industry-led collaborations that reached a total project value of more than $478 million with industry contributions of $305 million,” said Bill Greuel, CEO of Protein Industries Canada. “And we gained a much better understanding of what it is going to take to drive this industry and sector forward in Canada.”

As the second round of funding is rolled out, efforts are underway to re-balance the investment portfolio largely in favour of novel ingredient development and the scale up of ingredient manufacturing technologies. Along with this transition comes greater emphasis on the technology portfolio around products and projects that are closer to commercialization, whether they be ingredients, animal feed, consumer packaged goods, or bio-industrial products. The focus will be less on proof of concept and more on commercial development of those products.

Protein Industries Canada is also looking to increase the level of collaboration within partnership groupings to three partners rather than two, with a broader value-chain approach that emphasizes a project’s ability to scale up more directly.

“Essentially, the output of one vertical of the value chain becomes the input from another,” Greuel explained. “Formalizing that relationship does two things that are really important: It improves the speed of innovation because the manufacturer is getting feedback from the customer as the product(s) are being developed and it helps create the business relationship in the supply chain. We’re fortunate here at Protein Industries Canada as we’ve been thinking about the value chain approach to innovation since day one.”

Greuel added that investment in the genetics and crop portfolio is still important, as are the benefits of the AI program, particularly when it comes to managing the total investment to drive toward The Road to $25 Billion. The roadmap sets out key actions that will help the sector reach its goals in a strategic manner, including supplying the ingredients for 10 per cent of the global plant-based food products by 2035.

Another important Fund ll goal includes a more targeted effort to quantify the impact plant-based and agrifood investments are having on green economic growth. The implementation of an effective verification reporting system to measure the sustainability of Canadian crops and ingredients–and report greenhouse gas emissions along the value chain—at scale in Canada is key.

A continued focus on economic reconciliation for under-represented groups is also more firmly on the radar. “Economic reconciliation can be as simple as companies that don’t have a lot of resources completing cultural awareness training or economic training,” said Greuel, “and it could go all the way to involving First Nations organizations in the development of a given project. Economic reconciliation shouldn’t impede anyone’s ability to innovate or scale; it’s really meant to increase awareness of cultural diversity and create opportunities for economic growth.”

With tangible progress towards Protein Industries Canada’s goal of creating a long-term, sustainable plant-based industry in Canada, the organization will continue to help existing partners scale from the proof of concept and the ingredient processing stage to commercial status. This will involve tightening the relationship between prairie-based ingredient processors and Canada’s plant-based food manufacturers–largely housed in Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia–so that the value of Canadian ingredients transitions to Canadian food products. Important, as well, is the establishment of Canada’s plant based ingredient processing industry on a global scale in an effort to garner significant investment to continue growing the sector.

“We have a great story to tell around the volume of crops that we provide, the stable geo-political environment in Canada and the responsible sustainability of our crop production,” Greuel says. “All of the ingredients are here for the growth of domestic companies and foreign direct investment, so to put Canada on the global stage is another important goal for Protein Industries Canada during this second round of funding.”

For more information about how your company and your potential partners can get involved in a Protein Industries Canada project, visit www.proteinindustriescanada.ca/technology.