The Government of Canada announced financing of close to $100 million for the new Merit Functional Foods plant in Winnipeg, Man., which is set to be complete by the end of the year.
The federal financing for Merit Functional Foods includes:
- $10 million in a repayable contribution from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s AgriInnovate Program;
- $25 million in debt financing from Farm Credit Canada;
- $55 million in debt financing from Export Development Canada; and
- $9.2 million from the Protein Industries Canada supercluster announced earlier to support a project for the commercialization of a new highly soluble, highly functional pea and canola protein isolates.
Merit Functional Foods will construct a commercial-scale protein extraction facility that will produce plant proteins. Merit Functional Foods will be the first facility in the world with the capability to produce food-grade canola protein ready and safe for human consumption.
Merit Functional Foods plant will source 100% of its inputs from Canadian producers, with a projected forecast to utilize 10,000 metric tonnes of yellow peas and 17,000 tonnes of canola seed in its first year.
This plant, scheduled to be fully operational in December 2020 will create 80 new jobs and will help to establish the region as a world-leading agriculture and processing hub, according to the company.
Consumer demand for plant-based proteins is growing in both Canada and markets around the world.
“This facility is going to be key in redefining plant-based protein,” Merit Co-CEO Ryan Bracken said. “It’s a flexible facility that will produce an unprecedented pea protein and the first canola protein available for use in foods and beverages. Both of these proteins will have functional and nutritional characteristics that will set them apart from other ingredients available on the market.”
The current design for the facility is optimized to meet initial market demand for Merit’s specialty protein ingredients, and it is being designed with future growth in mind.