On Monday, Protein Industries Canada (PIC) announced a partnership that will develop nutritionally and functionally superior plant-based food products and beverages.

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. The key focus is to maintain the nutritional equivalency to animal-based products, achieving higher functionality than existing products in the Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) industry.

The project will cost $1.7 million.

“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 PIC CEO Bill Greuel. “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.”

YoFiit will lead the development of new food manufacturing techniques and novel food products.

“We are thrilled to receive this investment and to work with Avena and Roquette, two key members of our industry,” said YoFiit’s CEO Marie Amazan. “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 build off of success seen in their prior Protein Industries Canada projects.

“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.

Avena and Roquette Canada will supply the ingredients for the project.

“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.”

The partnership marks Protein Industries Canada’s 23rd technology project, and its 28th overall.