Canadian partners developing new line of plant-based seafood alternatives

Products will be sustainable and nutritious, while matching the taste and texture of their seafood counterparts

Vancouver, BC, Nov. 16, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Delicious taste, a nutritious profile, sustainably sourced and a wide variety of choices—Canadians can expect to find all of these characteristics in a new line of products developed by partners Konscious Foods, Merit Functional Foods and Canadian Pacifico Seaweeds.

Konscious Foods incorporates Canadian-grown and -processed ingredients, including Merit’s pea and canola proteins and Canadian Pacifico Seaweeds’ seaweed ingredients, to develop more than 20 plant-based seafood alternative products, which will be available in grocery store freezer aisles. While focusing on keeping the products sustainable and clean-label, the partners have also matched the taste and texture of the products’ seafood counterparts.

“It’s impressive to see Canadian companies working together to develop new and innovative plant-based seafood products,” said the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. “This project, with the support of the federal government, is building capacity, leveraging partnerships and creating more jobs and economic growth, all while delivering in-demand products.”

The products are being developed, in part, with a co-investment from Protein Industries Canada. The support from the investment acted as a catalyst for the innovative partnership, allowing the project to advance at a quicker, more efficient pace.

“Canadian consumers are looking for more plant-based food choices, and they want those choices to be developed sustainably and here in Canada whenever possible,” Protein Industries Canada CEO Bill Greuel said. “Our processors and manufacturers have the innovative mindset and raw resources to do that, but they often need the investment support. Protein Industries Canada is proud to be one of their potential partners in that area, helping to get new plant-based foods—like these seafood alternatives—into grocery stores sooner, providing Canadian families with new choices of healthy, sustainable food options.”

With several of their seafood alternatives already in Canadian grocery stores, Konscious Foods expects to roll the products out across North American markets, including through grocery stores and food-service channels. Further market expansion will occur as both the brand and product line grow.

This growth, and the success the partnership has seen so far, is built on a combination of the products’ sustainable development, the collaborative relationship between the partners, and the combined, long-term expertise of the project partners’ senior team members. This includes Konscious Foods’ principal founder, Yves Potvin, who founded and sold the successful plant-based companies Yves Veggie Cuisine and Gardein.

“At Konscious, our chefs apply their culinary skills to crafting elevated plant-based foods using simple high-quality ingredients,” said Yves Potvin, CEO of Konscious Foods. “We are grateful for the support that Protein Industries Canada has provided, allowing us to bring innovation to the grocery freezer aisle and helping shoppers make better choices. Our new line of delicious plant-based sushi and onigiri is good for you and for the planet.”

“We are pleased to partner with Protein Industries Canada, Konscious Foods and CPS on this project,” said Ryan Bracken, co-CEO of Merit Functional Foods. “Our mission at Merit is to empower the next generation of plant-based foods and beverages. As such, we are excited to provide Konscious Foods with Merit plant proteins that deliver on functionality, taste and nutrition to create plant-based seafood alternatives that exceed consumer expectations”.

“At CPS our mission is to convert raw seaweed materials into useful extracts and functional ingredients that can be readily used by a variety of sectors. Our oceans are chock-full of mineral compounds, and seaweeds are a natural, edible filter that readily absorb these in-demand nutrients,” Canadian Pacifico Seaweeds Founder and CEO Majid Hajibeigy said. “We are grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with industry leaders and for PIC’s support in enabling us to advance the science and commercial application of new and existing processing technologies that not only extract, but activate compounds.”

A total of $15.3 million has been committed to the project, with Protein Industries Canada committing $5.5 million and the partners committing the remaining $9.8 million.

Over the past three years, Protein Industries Canada and industry partners have invested more than $485 million into growing Canada’s plant-based food, feed and ingredient sector. The results of these investments include improved farming practices, increased sustainability and traceability, and the production of new ingredients and food products. Cumulatively this will increase the choices available to Canadians on grocery store shelves, create jobs and improve the health of our environment. Protein Industries Canada’s goal is to grow Canada’s plant-based food sector to $25 billion a year by 2035, supported by 17,000 jobs.

About Konscious Foods

Konscious Foods Canada Inc., based in Vancouver, B.C., creates sustainable plant-based foods for retail and foodservice customers. With roots firmly planted on the West Coast, the company is growing rapidly and will employ 100 people in 2023. Its core team of chef-led creative leaders brings more than 30 years of culinary and food science expertise to this new enterprise. Founded in 2021 and led by industry trailblazer, Yves Potvin, Konscious is committed to elevating plant-based eating by combining culinary excellence with wholesome ingredients to create delicious meal and snack options for everyone.

About Merit Functional Foods

Established in 2019, Merit Functional Foods is a Canadian company committed to exceeding expectations for plant-based protein, providing the market with the highest quality protein ingredients and blends that offer unmatched purity, exceptional taste, and excellent solubility. Merit has built a 94,000-square-foot state-of-the-art production facility in Winnipeg, where it produces a portfolio of non-GMO pea and canola protein ingredients with exceptional functional and nutritional values. For more information, visit meritfoods.com.

About Canadian Pacifico Seaweeds

Canadian Pacifico Seaweed Ltd. (“CPS”) is a Vancouver, B.C.-based vertically integrated international seaweed for-profit company. CPS is positioned to be the largest supplier of premium Pacific seaweeds in Canada, via a cooperative model established between the farmers and multiple industry channels. CPS premium dried seaweed(s) are grown and processed under CPS’s proprietary system. Partnering with a variety of supply chains whose main concern is food security and/or quantified carbon credits, the integrated approach of CPS model ensures comprehensive site analysis, monitoring, quality seed stock, farm installation, management plans, harvest resources and pre-sold crops. For more information, visit seaweednetwork.com.

Miranda Burski
Protein Industries Canada
306-581-1340
miranda@proteinsupercluster.ca

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