Protein Industries Canada announces plant-based food partnership

The partnership aims to develop nutritionally and functionally superior plant-based food products and beverages
calendar icon 23 December 2021
clock icon 3 minute read

YoFiit, Avena Foods Limited and Roquette Canada have partnered to solve technical challenges in formulating plant-based milk, probiotic-rich yogurt and other functional plant-based analogues – with a key focus on maintaining the nutritional equivalency to animal-based products, achieving higher functionality than existing products in the Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) industry.

The $1.7 million project will showcase Canada’s capacity – not only as a supplier of quality ingredients, but also for embracing cutting-edge food technology and patent-pending processes to develop products that are unique in the plant-based protein global marketplace.

“This project is yet another example of Canada’s growing potential in the production of plant-based products,” said François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. “By supporting SMEs in agricultural, Protein Industries Canada is helping new ideas and products become a reality and allowing these companies to scale-up like never before by accessing new and growing markets in Canada and around the world.”

YoFiit, a food-tech start-up with nutritious plant-based snacks and milk alternatives available in grocery stores across Canada, will lead the development of new food manufacturing techniques and novel food products.

“This project demonstrates the power of collaboration and importance of building capacity along the ecosystem. By pairing YoFiit, a young start-up, with global leaders like Avena and Roquette Canada, innovation, commercialisation and scale-up happens quicker – with the economic value and associated expertise staying in Canada,” said Bill Greuel, CEO of Protein Industries Canada. “By increasing ingredient and food processing capacity in Canada, we are strengthening our domestic food supply chain, helping to reduce GHG emissions, creating jobs and supporting a strong and more prosperous economy.”

Avena and Roquette Canada will build off of success seen in their prior Protein Industries Canada projects, including the creation of new plant-based protein ingredients that utilize Canadian crops. This past collaborative success will allow the companies to find innovative, direct applications for their ingredients in products like YoFiit’s plant-based foods and beverages, while also bringing new ingredients and technical expertise that will help drive the project forward.

“We are thrilled to receive this investment and to work with Avena and Roquette, two key members of our industry,” said Marie Amazan, CEO of YoFiit. “Through the project, we will have the opportunity to experiment with more Canadian-grown crops and expand our arsenal of plant-based dairy offerings as well as adjacent categories. With the food technology ecosystem we have built over the past few years, we will be in a position to pair our research and product development expertise with our partners’ ingredients knowledge to create some very exciting firsts in Canada."

Avena and Roquette Canada will supply the ingredients for the project and will gain important knowledge about the functionality and performance of their ingredients in unique and innovative CPG products.

“We are very happy to support a fellow Canadian food processing company on this exciting project. Avena’s tempered flours, already sold commercially for a number of food applications, show considerable promise for beverages. We look forward to working with YoFiit and our other partners to increase Canadian production and worldwide consumption of plant-based beverages and foods,” said Gord Flaten, CEO of Avena.

“Roquette has over 40 years of experience in plant-based proteins and one of our strengths has always been our ability to work closely with food innovators to help them launch new products to market,” said Dominique Baumann, Managing Director for Roquette in Canada and Global Head of Operations for Global Business Unit Plant Proteins. “We’re excited to be part of this Protein Industries Canada consortium project and proud to contribute Nutralys plant protein from the newly opened Portage pea protein plant in Manitoba and the expertise of our Customer Technical Service team.”

Together with industry, Protein Industries Canada has committed more than $426 million to Canada’s plant-based food, feed and ingredients ecosystem.

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