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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.

With over 1.7 million acres of prime agricultural land, the pulse inputs best suited to plant-based protein (yellow peas, green peas, fava beans) grow abundantly in the region. Cold winters and dry summers limit disease and production costs helps limit disease and insect problems and keeps production costs down.

While the Edmonton region includes ample access to these feedstocks, it does not yet include a large-scale fractionation facility – an opportunity to leverage the strengths that already exist in the region, and capitalize on a skyrocketing industry.

What is plant protein fractionation?

Plant fractionation is a process 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 and fibre). Some examples include innovations in nutraceuticals, biotech, and alternative packaging, with new uses being discovered all the time.

Key highlights

  • Agricultural land covers 80% of the region with cold winters and dry summers. Pulse inputs best suited to plant-based protein (yellow peas, green peas, fava beans) grow abundantly here.
  • The Government of Canada supports funded access to machinery for product testing and manufacturing at the Food Processing Development Centre.
  • Canada has 14 trade agreements opening access to 1.4 billion customers, paired with the region’s strong transportation networks with access to the United States (35% of the global market for plant protein), the European Union (15% of the market), and the United Kingdom (8% of the market).

Webinar – Plant Protein Fractionation

“We are currently working on six plant-protein investment cases which are valued at over $500 million and have the potential to create over 325 jobs,” – David Dreeshen Former Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Economic Development.

“Plant-based protein is an emerging subsector with significant potential for growth and diversification of the agri-processing industry in Alberta,”- Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Economic Development Minister Nate Horner