CALGARY, AB – The federal government announced today that the pan-Prairie plant protein supercluster led by Protein Industries Canada (PIC) has been awarded $153 million as one of five winners of the Federal Innovation Superclusters Initiative. 

The government’s announcement is welcome, said Carlo Dade, director of the Trade & Investment Centre. 

“Now it’s time to quickly roll up our sleeves, work together in the Prairies to seize the opportunity to supply the growing demand for plant protein, and expand beyond our traditional basic commodity exports, ” Dade said.  

The Canada West Foundation’s December report, Sprouted: The plant ingredient opportunity taking root on the Prairies, presented the plant protein opportunity and what it means for western Canada. Consumers in North America and Europe want alternative food choices, including plant-based protein. Rising global demand for more and higher quality protein from both from the U.S. and Europe as well as the booming global middle class elsewhere presents a huge opportunity to meet this demand. We can compete – and win – globally. 

As countries like Vietnam demand more meat, we can supply not only the meat we can also supply higher quality plant protein-based animal feed. As farmed fish production takes off, we can also now provide new forms of plant based protein aquafeed. If Canada moves quickly to position itself as a global leader in the research, development, production and processing of plant protein ingredients, we win. 

The good news is that the Prairie provinces already grow many of the crops, including lentils, peas and beans, that are processed into plant ingredient components – protein, fibre and starch. The even better news is that we are well-placed to potentially dominate the non-soy plant ingredient processing sector – and take advantage of the value-added possibilities that entails. 

Dade also noted that Canada’s trade agreement advantages over other producers of plant-based ingredients gives the country further competitive advantage. Even without NAFTA, Canada has tremendous advantages in the U.S. market. The recent agreement with the EU, CETA, gives Canada a major tariff edge over U.S. competitors in Europe. When the CPTTP agreement comes into force, Canada will have advantages over both U.S. and European producers in many Asian markets.

For more information about the plant ingredient opportunity and what it will take to succeed see the Canada West Foundation report:

Sprouted: The plant ingredient opportunity taking root on the Prairies.