Protein Industries Canada teams up with Dutch university to research more plant-based sources of protein

Regina-based Protein Industries Canada is working with a university in the Netherlands to support the use of more plant-based sources of protein.   

An agreement between the Regina-based group and Wageningen University & Research, in the Netherlands, was announced at the Dutch consulate in Vancouver.

Protein Industries Canada director of business development James Street says for farmers, the agreement will provide more opportunities to add value to the broad acreage crops used to extract protein for the latest plant-based foods and ingredients seen in the marketplace today.

Street says the scope of the research includes “formulations, solving for taste and texture, and creating the great products that are going to help Canada become competitive on the global stage when it comes to the finished products.”

Products he is referring to include plant-based beverages, meat, cheeses, and what he called “functional ingredients” used in some health products.

He also says “there’s going to be collaboration further upstream in the value-chain, and looking at where the functionality plays a role in the plant breeding as well, so we’re making sure that Canada’s crop production is also relevant and competitive going forward, making sure we’re growing the crops that are adjusting and adapting to the consumer taste.”

Street says both sides are in the early stages of identifying where the opportunities are, and connecting Canadian companies with Dutch companies.

“This is happening lock-step with the launch of our second fund where the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Economic Development have granted us $150-million through the Global Innovation Supercluster Program,” Street added. “So we’ll be looking at opportunities to dedicate a portion of that fund on our side to support that R&D (Research & Development).”

He says Canada and the Netherlands see the value and opportunity this collaboration brings.

“We’re excited to see where the R&D projects are going to land. We’re excited to see what sort of challenges  we can solve and increase the competitiveness of Canada.”

President of Wageningen University & Research, Sjoukje Heimovaara, says in a news release: “Food systems have a considerable impact on the planet, which implies this is also where solutions can be found. Our current system depletes our natural resources, and increasing demand for animal-sourced foods exacerbates this problem. Furthermore, proteins are not equitably shared. Over-consumption co-exists with scarcity. We need a transition towards a sustainable, equitable and balanced food system. I believe that living within the planetary boundaries is humanity’s greatest challenge. And we need each other’s knowledge and expertise for that. Canada is a global leader in the protein transition and a natural partner for The Netherlands with complementary expertise.”

You can hear the interview with James Street below.

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