Protein Industries Canada commits CA$15.3 million toward plant-based foods from seaweed
Delicious taste, a nutritious profile, sustainably sourced and a wide variety of choices – Canadians can expect to find all of these characteristics in a new line of products developed by partners Konscious Foods, Merit Functional Foods and Canadian Pacifico Seaweeds.
Konscious Foods incorporates Canadian-grown and -processed ingredients, including Merit’s pea and canola proteins and Canadian Pacifico Seaweeds’ seaweed ingredients, to develop more than 20 plant-based seafood alternative products, which will be available in grocery store freezer aisles. Although focusing on keeping the products sustainable and clean-label, the partners have also matched the taste and texture of the products’ seafood counterparts.
“It’s impressive to see Canadian companies working together to develop new and innovative plant-based seafood products,” said François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. “This project, with the support of the federal government, is building capacity, leveraging partnerships and creating more jobs and economic growth, all while delivering in-demand products.”
The products are being developed, in part, with a co-investment from Protein Industries Canada (PIC). The support from the investment acted as a catalyst for the innovative partnership, allowing the project to advance at a quicker, more efficient pace.
“Canadian consumers are looking for more plant-based food choices, and they want those choices to be developed sustainably and here in Canada whenever possible,” added Bill Greuel, CEO, Protein Industries Canada. “Our processors and manufacturers have the innovative mindset and raw resources to do that, but they often need the investment support. Protein Industries Canada is proud to be one of their potential partners in that area, helping to get new plant-based foods – like these seafood alternatives – into grocery stores sooner, providing Canadian families with new choices of healthy, sustainable food options.”
With several of their seafood alternatives already in Canadian grocery stores, Konscious Foods expects to roll the products out across North American markets, including through grocery stores and food-service channels. Further market expansion will occur as both the brand and product line grow.
This growth, and the success the partnership has seen so far, is built on a combination of the products’ sustainable development, the collaborative relationship between the partners, and the combined, long-term expertise of the project partners’ senior team members. This includes Konscious Foods’ Principal Founder, Yves Potvin, who founded and sold the successful plant-based companies Yves Veggie Cuisine and Gardein.
"At Konscious, our chefs apply their culinary skills to crafting elevated plant-based foods using simple high-quality ingredients," said Yves Potvin, CEO of Konscious Foods. “We are grateful for the support that Protein Industries Canada has provided, allowing us to bring innovation to the grocery freezer aisle and helping shoppers make better choices. Our new line of delicious plant-based sushi and onigiri is good for you and for the planet.”
“We are pleased to partner with Protein Industries Canada, Konscious Foods and CPS on this project,” added Ryan Bracken, co-CEO of Merit Functional Foods. “Our mission at Merit is to empower the next generation of plant-based foods and beverages. As such, we are excited to provide Konscious Foods with Merit plant proteins that deliver on functionality, taste and nutrition to create plant-based seafood alternatives that exceed consumer expectations."
"At CPS our mission is to convert raw seaweed materials into useful extracts and functional ingredients that can be readily used by a variety of sectors. Our oceans are chock-full of mineral compounds; and seaweeds are a natural, edible, filter that readily absorb these in-demand nutrients. We are grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with industry leaders and for PIC’s support in enabling us to advance the science and commercial application of new and existing processing technologies that not only extract, but activate compounds,” concluded Majid Hajibeigy, Founder of Canadian Pacifico Seaweeds.
A total of CA$15.3 million has been committed to the project, with Protein Industries Canada committing CA$5.5 million and the partners committing the remaining CA$9.8 million.
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