Boosting Canada’s reputation as a global leader in plant proteins

News release

Merit Functional Foods facility will be complete at the end of this year

June 22, 2020 – Ottawa, Ontario - Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Canada recognizes that innovation drives prosperity, creates jobs, and is key to keeping the agriculture and agri-food sector strong and competitive. That is why, the Government of Canada announced today financing of close to $100 million for the new Merit Functional Foods plant in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

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 superior in solubility, flavour and purity. 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 percent 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.

Consumer demand for plant-based proteins is growing in both Canada and markets around the world. This innovative technology provides alternatives to animal and dairy derived proteins, adding value to our grain commodities and plant-based proteins.

Quotes

"The made-in-Canada agricultural technologies and innovations from Merit Functional Foods not only give us a competitive advantage in the global marketplace, they are creating jobs and adding value to our farmers` commodities. This is a very exciting project that demonstrates our Government`s commitment to positioning Canada as a leader in production of plant proteins.”

- The Honorable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

“This project is yet another great example of how collaboration is helping Canada further solidify its reputation as a global leader in plant proteins. Our co-investment with the Protein Industries supercluster has helped Merit commercialize a new processing technology that will give Canadians and export markets better tasting plant-based protein alternatives.”

-  The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

"Merit Functional Foods plant is an exciting Canadian success story – an innovative business leading the way in the cleantech and agriculture sectors here at home and around the world. Together, our government and Export Development Canada are supporting innovative businesses like this one as they thrive and grow globally – creating opportunities for Canadians today and for generations to come.”

-  The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade

"We are extremely appreciative of the instrumental support from the government and our other partners as we move one step closer to commercializing our state-of-the-art protein manufacturing facility. We're proud to help elevate Canada as one of the world's leaders in plant-based protein and sustainable food."

- Ryan Bracken, Co-CEO at Merit Functional Foods

“This transaction emphasizes EDC’s commitment to clean technology.  We are pleased to provide financing for an innovative project that will provide consumers with high quality food and beverage products and reduce environmental impacts. We look forward to working with the company and alongside our government partners to help expand Merit’s production facilities and support their international growth.” 

- Carl Burlock, Executive Vice-President and Chief Business Officer, Export Development Canada

Quick facts

  • According to a report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, consumption of healthy and sustainable diets including plant-based proteins presents major opportunities for reducing GHG emissions from food systems and improving health outcomes.

  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s AgriInnovate program aims to accelerate the commercialization, adoption and/or demonstration of innovative products, technologies, processes or services that increase sector competitiveness and sustainability.

  • Merit Functional Foods Corporation (MFF) is a new company established in 2019 just outside of Winnipeg, Manitoba, that specializes in extracting protein for commercial use.

  • In negotiating this transaction, Export Development Canada is delivering on a commitment made by the Government of Canada in the 2017 budget, which asked EDC to mobilize $443.3 million in cleantech project financing funds by 2022 for first of their kind, capital intensive, early commercial-stage clean technology companies.

  • Merit Functional Foods will produce a range of pea, canola and blended proteins for different end uses including: meat and egg alternatives, baked goods, nutrition bars, and fortified beverages.

Associated links

Contacts

Jean-Sébastien Comeau
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
jean-sebastien.comeau@canada.ca
343-549-2326

Media Relations
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Ottawa, Ontario
613-773-7972
1-866-345-7972
aafc.mediarelations-relationsmedias.aac@canada.ca
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@AAFC_Canada
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Erin Robbins
Merit Functional Foods, Media Relations
erin.robbins@market-pl.com
+1-314-366-3562


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