Plant Protein Fractionation

Globally, plant-based protein is one of the fastest-growing food and agri-food sub-sectors. By 2022, the global demand for plant-based protein is anticipated to reach $14.2 billion – and as much as $100 billion by 2030.

Plant proteins derived from pulses are gaining traction. Popular products like the Beyond Meat burger are made with pea protein isolates. Traditionally soy protein has dominated the market, but pulse-derived proteins are non-GMO, have better palatability and are more environmentally sustainable and while the Edmonton Metropolitan Region includes ample access to these feedstocks, it does not yet include a large-scale fractionation facility – this is an opportunity to leverage the strengths that already exist in the region, and capitalize on a sky-rocketing industry.

Plant protein fractionation

What is plant protein fractionation?

Plant fractionation is a process is used to separate grains or pulses into fibre, starch and protein. The ingredients produced through this practice include protein concentrates/isolates that can be used in food and beverage products such as dairy, meat substitutes and alternatives. 

There are also a host of applications for the other offtakes (starch, fibre). Some examples include innovations in nutraceuticals, biotech, and alternative packaging with new uses being discovered for these products all the time.                                                                                                        

Why choose the Edmonton Metrotropolitan Region

The Edmonton Metropolitan Region (EMR) has existing research infrastructure in place to promote product development and innovation. From having a well developed Food Processing Development Centre (designed to strengthen and expand the capabilities of food processors) to having the University of Alberta Research farms that have the ability to undertake plant protein research as well as the Alberta Bio Processing Innovation centre; the Edmonton region is poised for strategic investment with a strong foundation in research and development in the plant protein space.

The Edmonton Metropolitan Region (EMR)’s competitive advantage mainly centers around its vast fertile land and specialty in production of high-quality grains and pulses. The region is endowed with vast agricultural land (approximately 1.7 million acres), covering 80% of the region. EMR is endowed with vast agricultural land (approximately 1.7 million acres), covering 80% of the region. The presence of cold winters and dry summers helps limit disease and insect problems and keeps production costs down. The pulse inputs best suited to plant-based protein (yellow peas, green peas, fava beans) grow abundantly in the region

Supported by transportation capacity (truck, rail, and air) and trade agreements, the EMR has excellent access to the USA (35% of the global market for plant protein), the EU (15% of the market), and the UK (8% of the market). Canada’s 14 trade agreements open access to 1.4 billion consumers. The region is well-connected to highways which provide substantial trucking opportunities for importing necessary inputs and exporting processed goods


The Edmonton region has excellent post-secondary capacity in agriculture and access to skilled labor, with a pool of talents than other prairie provinces. The province has a higher share of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) graduates (20.3%) than Saskatchewan (14.0%) and Manitoba (15.7%).

Attractive subsidies exist from the Government of Canada for qualifying business investments in plant-based protein (see details below). The Government of Canada supports funded access to machinery for product testing and manufacturing at the Food Processing Development Centre. While Canada has the lowest effective marginal tax rate among G7 countries at 13.7%, Alberta has the lowest corporate tax rate in Canada at 8%.

Hear from some of Canada's leading sector experts

Play Video

This webinar gives a good overview of how the Edmonton region stacks up as a location to invest in a plant protein fractionation facility. 

Expert panelists shared their perspective on the strategic context, including information about:

  • Feedstock
  • Logistics and access to market
  • Talent, innovation & research expertise
  • Existing infrastructure
Information about incentives, industry support and funding

The video below highlights some of the organizations, government programs, and funding that exist to support this sky-rocketing industry. In this video, Chris Mcleod, our VP of Global Marketing and Communications chats with senior representatives from the organizations listed below and they talk about the levels of support their organizations provide and how to access funding and incentives available.  

Play Video
Turning An Idea Into A Project

Protein Industries Canada will co-invest in collaborative consortia that leverage strengths, address gaps and incent innovation across the value chain. Chosen projects will align to the four priority areas (create, grow, make and sell) and will demonstrate impact up or down the value stream.

The Supercluster’s contribution, both in magnitude and in proportion, to an approved project, will be determined by how, and the extent to which, project outcomes are aligned with its program areas and ISI themes, and the potential for transformation.

Projects can be both solicited and unsolicited. There may be instances when PIC issues a specific call for projects to fill an identified gap; however, members are encouraged to put forth projects at any time that are aligned with and contribute to the objectives of advancing the processing of plant protein.

Protein Industries Canada staff are available to support project consortia throughout the project proposal development process.

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Business Scale-up and Productivity

Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) makes strategic investments in key economic sectors and also supports the development of leading industry geographic clusters through its Business Scale-up and Productivity (BSP) program.

BSP supports high-growth* businesses that are scaling up and producing innovative goods, services or technologies. It offers interest free repayable funding to incorporated businesses.

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Program overview

The AgriInnovate program aims to accelerate the commercialization, adoption and/or demonstration of innovative products, technologies, processes or services that increase sector competitiveness and sustainability.

In order to be eligible for funding, applicants must clearly illustrate how proposed projects will commercialize/adopt/demonstrate an innovation new to the sector or country.

Once the innovation requirement has been established the program will then prioritize project applications that advance the government’s agenda through one or more of the following priority areas:

  • adoption of new or world leading clean technology (including precision agriculture)
  • increase productivity through advanced manufacturing, automation or robotics
  • strengthen Canada’s value-added agri-sectors
  • secure or expand new export markets

Projects that incorporate more than one program priority area will be given greater consideration.

If approved, support is available in the form of repayable contributions.

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The Alberta Jobs Now program will provide up to $370 million to help private and non-profit businesses with job supports to get thousands of Albertans back to work.

Employers can apply for funding to offset the cost of hiring and training unemployed or underemployed Albertans in new or vacant positions.

This federal-provincial investment is the largest job training program in Alberta’s history. It will support our province’s recovery, help businesses re-open or grow their workforce, and give Albertans an opportunity to gain the skills they need in today’s job market.

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A simpler, more flexible tool to grow Canada’s economy

Making sure that Canada is a top destination for businesses to invest, grow and create jobs and prosperity for Canadians is one of the Government’s top priorities. The Strategic Innovation Fund’s (SIF) objective is to spur innovation for a better Canada by providing funding for large projects (over $10 million in requested contribution).

The program serves to simplify application processes, accelerate processing, and provide assistance that is more responsive and focused on results.

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Learn more about Edmonton Metropolitan Region

Local news about the region's food & agriculture sector

More information about the investment opportunity
Reach out. We're ready to help

Trevor Kloeck

Senior Business Development Manager
Trevor leads the food & agriculture sector at Edmonton Global. As a foreign direct investment (FDI) and international business development company, we work as an ally to attract investment to, and promote trade from, Canada and our region. We’re ready to connect with you and support your work. From market research to helping you make connections to industry experts, to helping you identify businesses that align with your trade mission objectives and opportunities - I'm here to help. 

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