Our neighbors in Canada just gave the plant-based meat industry a giant leg-up. This week, we’re celebrating the news that Justin Trudeau has announced that the Canadian government will invest nearly $100 million in plant-based protein company Merit Functional Foods. Currently, a 94,000-square-foot facility in Winnipeg, Manitoba, is scheduled to be fully operational by the fourth quarter of this year, per the company’s press release.
“This facility will be a world leader in plant-based proteins and will create good jobs in a fast-growing field,” Trudeau said in a video announcement. “And by using 100% Canadian inputs, it will also support farmers who produce the canola and yellow peas used in Merit’s products. Standing up for hard-working farmers, creating good jobs, setting up Canada for success on the world stage, these are things that our government will always get behind,” he continued.
Considering the coronavirus crisis has seen a large increase in demand for vegan meat substitutes, now seems like a good time to be ramping up the company’s efforts. Once the facility is up and running, it will be the first and only commercial facility with the capability to produce food-grade canola protein, a newcomer to plant-based protein recipe formulation.
“This facility is going to be key in redefining plant-based protein,” Merit Co-CEO Ryan Bracken said in their media statement. “It’s a flexible facility that will produce an unprecedented pea protein and the first canola protein available for use in foods and beverages. Both of these proteins will have functional and nutritional characteristics that will set them apart from other ingredients available on the market.”
In addition to making meat substitutes, Merit’s plant proteins help manufacturers make dairy substitutes, protein powders, egg alternatives, juices, smoothies, and more. We’re looking forward to seeing where this investment takes the world of plant-based food and beverages—and we’ll never look at a bottle of canola oil the same way.