The Edmonton region’s nutraceuticals industry – it’s an opportunity right now
Nutraceuticals are part of a large and growing market in natural health products that include things like functional foods and supplements. As consumers are becoming more and more health conscious, many are turning to supplements to boost their health. The nutraceutical industry is seizing the opportunity with increased product innovation and market expansion. The Edmonton Metropolitan Region has all the ingredients needed to attract international investment into the growing nutraceutical industry.
One of the biggest demand spikes in the nutraceuticals market has been the addition of cannabidiol (CBD), a functional additive that has seen a surge in popularity due to mounting evidence of its health benefits.
The nutraceutical market in Canada alone is valued at $16.4 billion and 75% of buyers are classified as ‘frequent users’ of these products. Nutraceuticals have demonstrated exceptionally high growth globally with a compounded 10% year over year growth rate over the last decade. When we look at CBD specifically, the global market is projected to reach $22 billion by 2026, with an annual compound growth that is almost double that of non-CBD nutraceuticals.
Companies in the Edmonton region are capitalizing on these opportunities and are seeing some phenomenal success.
BioNeutra is one of the Edmonton region’s fastest growing companies, with a five-year growth rate of 1,378% and a ranking from Canada Business magazine as one of Canada’s fastest growing companies for the 3rd consecutive year. They sell their products to global markets including the U.S., EU, India, and SE Asia.
BioNeutra is focused on both the research and development, and the production of ingredients for nutraceutical, functional and mainstream foods. They’ve developed a patented process that leverages manufacturing technology to produce a range of nutraceutical products that function as sugar replacements. Their VitaFiber IMO sugar alternative, has just been named the world’s top beverage ingredient by FoodBev, a leading food and beverage industry publisher. This international recognition demonstrates the incredible research and expertise that is taking place here.
The Edmonton region also has access to inputs.
One example is Rosy Farms, a haskap berry orchard located in Sturgeon County. Owner, Andrew Rosychuk bought the 76 acres of land that make up the farm in 2015 – he now has 26,000 haskap bushes growing there.
The berry is relatively new to North America but has grown abundantly in both Japan and Siberia. Haskaps are quickly becoming North America’s newest superfood due to their high antioxidant properties. These “super berries” are beginning to enter the European nutraceutical market in powder form. If a processing facility were to be established here, the Edmonton region could reasonably be expected to be one of the most competitive regions in the world for haskaps. But whether fresh or processed, these berries represent a lot of potential for the region.
Rosychuk agrees. He says the next step for the industry is to establish the distribution and processing systems that are needed to support the growth of this industry in Alberta.
The Edmonton region has the expertise and a competitive advantage in shipping fresh fruits to Asia. A large percentage of Western Canada and northwestern U.S. cherries ship to Asia through the Edmonton International Airport. That’s due to the combination of quick flying times to Asia, regular food-focused cargo routes, and expertise in handling fresh fruits, produce, meats, and other temperature and time sensitive products. It’s just one more example of our region’s unique value proposition.
Oats are another input that is widely available in the region that holds significant potential. Oats are commonly rendered into oat beta glucan, a fibre-based nutraceutical proven to lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Oat beta glucan is supported by Health Canada, the US Food and Drug Association, and the European Food Safety Authority as a “qualified” nutraceutical due to scientific evidence in its favour. Ceapro is a regional business already accessing these inputs to produce oat beta glucan
PBG BioPharma is another Edmonton region company operating in the nutraceutical sector. They’ve recently completed a 25,000 square foot expansion to their research and manufacturing facility. The one-of-a-kind facility houses three distinct operations under one roof— a GMP certified facility for natural health product development and manufacturing, a C1D2 manufacturing facility with license for cannabis processing, and a suite of world-class GMP and ISO 17025 accredited research and analytical laboratories with cannabis analytical and research license.
According to PBG Pharma, this new facility is one of the largest of its kind in North America with a manufacturing capacity of up to 200 tonnes of biomass extracts every year. The manufacturing and research labs will be used as innovation and manufacturing centres performing proprietary extractions, isolations, formulations, research and testing of Canada-based medicinal herbs, as well as cannabis products for health and wellness. The manufactured products will include ingredient extracts and isolates and formulated finished products. The facility will also serve as a “one-stop-shop” for Canadian and international businesses looking to create innovative, reliable, consistent, and evidence-based nutraceutical and medicinal cannabis products.