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Feds give $100 million to plant-based food producer

Monday, June 22, 2020 @ 4:27 PM | By Terry Davidson

In a bid to create additional jobs in the agriculture and agri-food sector, Canada’s government is giving $100 million in funding to the new Merit Functional Foods plant in Winnipeg.

Merit, a plant-protein food producer, will be constructing a “commercial-scale protein extraction facility that will produce plant proteins superior in solubility, flavour and purity,” according to a government news release.

“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,” it states.

“Merit Functional Foods plant will source 100 per cent 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.”

The plant will become fully operational in December.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, as part of his daily COVID-19 update to the nation on June 22, said Merit “will be a world leader in plant-based proteins and create good jobs in a fast-growing field.”

“Standing up for hard-working farmers, creating good jobs, setting up Canada for success on the world stage, these are things that our government will always get behind,” Trudeau said.  

The plant will create 80 new jobs and “help to establish the region as a world-leading agriculture and processing hub,” the release went on to state, adding that “[c]onsumer 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.”