Protein Supercluster starts off with first project to boost crop value

News release

Project with Botaneco and partners will add value to common Canadian crops and transform the plant protein sector in Canada.

June 26, 2019 – Calgary, Alberta

The Government of Canada is committed to growing the economy, creating good jobs and keeping Canada competitive. That is why the Government has brought together small, medium-sized and large companies, academic institutions and not-for-profit organizations to develop major engines of innovation, growth and job creation under the ambitious Innovation Superclusters Initiative.

Today, the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, announced that the Protein Supercluster, a pan-prairie initiative, passed a major milestone with the selection of its first project, designed to focus on advancements in technologies to improve oil and protein ingredient values in canola and hemp.

Minister Bains was speaking at Botaneco, a Calgary-based innovative, oilseed ingredient manufacturer with novel plant-based separation and purification technology for food, feed, and personal care. Botaneco is partnering with Corteva Canada and Rowland Farms to develop novel processing technology for canola and hemp crops to produce new, higher value oil and protein products. This research will have significant benefits for Canadian processors by increasing the highly valuable recoverable protein while reducing lower value co-products. Ultimately, it will lead to the commercialization of new plant-based ingredient products for the food ingredient, livestock feed and aquaculture markets.

The Supercluster Initiative, part of the Government of Canada’s Innovation and Skills Plan, takes a new approach to accelerating economic growth by creating hubs of global competitive advantage. This long-term program is making investments in five major hubs across the country, which are expected to create 50,000 jobs and contribute $50 billion to Canada’s GDP over the next ten years.


“The Protein Supercluster is just getting started transforming the industry and creating good jobs for Canadians for years to come. As Canada positions itself to meet global demand for plant-based proteins, this project is going to help foster new and innovative processing technologies that will increase the value of key Canadian crops popular in foreign markets.”
– The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

“This represents a significant milestone as a Supercluster, and we are thrilled to have worked with the consortium and co-invest into a project that will drive innovative processing and bring new opportunities for feed and food manufacturers.”
– Bill Greuel, CEO, Protein Industries Canada

“Botaneco is very excited about the potential of our novel oilseed processing platform. The Protein Industries Canada co-investment will allow us to expand our internal research capacity and contribute to the building of a Prairie proteins ecosystem with our consortia partners and key public research institutions. This investment will greatly accelerate our development timelines, opening new, high value markets for Canadian oilseed crops.”
– James Szarko, CEO, Botaneco Inc. 

Quick facts

  • A Government of Canada investment of up to $4 million in this first project has helped leverage at least $4 million in contributions from industry and other partners.

  • Under an agreement signed with Protein Industries Canada last November, the Government of Canada is investing up to nearly $153 million, the Supercluster matched dollar for dollar by the private sector.

  • The Supercluster is a crucial element in Canada’s goal to be a dominant player in meeting global demand for plant-based proteins, valued at US$8 billion in 2017, and projected to grow at an annual rate of 5.9 per cent to US$14.8 billion by 2023, according to a study by the Canada West Foundation.

  • Under a recently signed Canada-European Union arrangement to facilitate trans-Atlantic cluster collaboration, Canada’s five superclusters will have opportunities to form strategic business partnerships and linkages with cluster organizations and firms in the EU.

  • The Protein Industries Supercluster is expected to create more than 4,500 jobs and add more than $4.5 billion to Canada’s economy over 10 years.

Associated links


Dani Keenan
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

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