Countries with complementary strengths partner to grow the plant-based ecosystem


Canada has a highly regarded agriculture and food reputation in the global market, which has made it a valuable and sought-after trading partner over the past several decades. But this reputation is also playing an important role in the growth of the country’s plant-based sector—it’s helping to solidify the international partnerships that will lead to the development of new ingredients and products that will soon line grocery store shelves around the world.

So far, Canada has been strategic in establishing such relationships. One of its most recently announced plant-based partnerships, for example, is with the Netherlands, a country well-known for its ingredient processing and food manufacturing innovation.

“If you look at Canada and the Netherlands, both are agricultural powerhouses with their own specialties,” Wageningen University International Liaison Officer for the United States and Canada Paul Ramos said. “Combining those two agricultural powerhouses is logical from an economical and also from a knowledge perspective, but also from a political perspective … So for us as a knowledge institute, it is very important to partner with Canada. But also our industry partners see it as a logical choice.”

According to Ramos, Canadian companies bring a wealth of agricultural knowledge and production to this relationship, providing a strong foundation for the development of new plant-based ingredients. Laurice Pouvreau, Wageningen University Food and Biobased Research’s Senior Scientist in Protein Technology, added that companies across the Netherlands can build on this foundation with not only their processing expertise, but also their systematic and collaborative way of thinking. The combination is anticipated to help companies on both sides of the Atlantic develop the crops, ingredients and finished products that have the taste and functionality consumers are looking for.

While the official partnership between Canada and the Netherlands is in its early stages, Ramos and Pouvreau expect it will lead to significant benefits for both countries. Not only do they see it leading to new plant-based products for consumers to enjoy, but also scaling and growth opportunities for the businesses involved—not to mention the positive environmental impacts a stronger plant-based sector can have.

Overall, though, they see the partnership having a much more significant impact on purchasing choices, due to the increased potential to develop the products consumers are looking for.

“Every country needs to be doing its part to achieve a more global change in our farming system, but also in developing plant-based products that people will like,” Pouvreau said. “If not all countries and also all policymakers are joining forces to change this, we will not get anywhere by ourselves.”

Implementing global change takes global effort—which means partnerships on a global scale. Canada is launching such partnerships, starting with countries like the Netherlands, who complement our strengths and have as high a reputation in the agriculture and food space as our own. The benefits companies and consumers alike will see from these relationships are bound to be just as highly regarded.