Adding value to Canada’s plant protein crops through upcycling and sidestream utilization


To reach Canada’s full potential in the plant-based market, the sector needs to expand its vision beyond the products that line grocery store shelves. While building out these grocery products will go a long way in moving the country forward, there’s plenty of other ingredient and finished product opportunity available through sidestream utilization—such as in the growing aquafeed market.

Since launching its first Protein Industries Canada project in June of 2019, Botaneco has taken its novel canola protein aquafeed ingredient from concept to reality. The company’s Alofin canola concentrate is moving toward commercialization, with its availability in key markets around the world forthcoming.

“The aquaculture feed market is under a pretty good rate of expansion,” Botaneco COO David Dzisiak said. “There's a great need for new ingredients. And so you add all these things together: a growing market with over 5 MM mt of protein demand, and you got a great product source. So it really made sense to develop that opportunity.”

Dzisiak expects the use of canola protein as the main ingredient in Alofin will help it gain a significant footing in both the Canadian and international aquafeed markets. In the past, the use of canola as an ingredient in aquafeed—particularly for salmon—was limited, due to its anti-nutritional properties, which reduced salmon’s acceptance of the ingredient. Botaneco’s research, however, has addressed that issue, creating a product that’s high in protein, addresses amino profile needs, and is palatable for salmon and shrimp.

“Canola has a lot of advantages versus most other plant proteins in [salmon and shrimp] diets, and it’s a high-value diet. So we have a great protein source and a pretty high-value market opportunity,” Dzisiak said. “No one's really paid attention to value-adding canola meal, but it's 55 per cent of traditional processing output … We saw, a real opportunity to really go and upcycle the product, into something a lot more valuable.”

Through five feeding trials with their project partners, Botaneco has been able to prove the advantages of their canola ingredient. Dzisiak explained that uptake among both salmon and shrimp was high, and that the nutritional profile of Alofin helped promote growth.

The success of the trials puts Botaneco on good footing for their future work. While moving toward commercialization, the company is also looking at conducting pricing studies, producing sample products and scaling their operations in order to meet growing client demand.

With such extensive plans on the horizon, it’s no surprise Botaneco’s Alofin is already gaining attention. Dzisiak explained there are plans to market the ingredient to growers in the world’s key salmon and shrimp markets—ocean-based salmon farmers in Canada and Chile, in-land salmon farmers in Florida, and shrimp farmers in the Indo-Pacific region. It’s a robust commercialization plan that will not only help Botaneco scale its operations, but also meet the growing demand for new, high-protein aquafeed options.

To learn more about Botaneco’s Alofin ingredient, visit botaneco.com/aquaculture-feed-ingredients.

Featured interviewee

Dzisiak 240 orig

David Dzisiak

Chief Operating Officer