BOWDEN — A company locating in Bowden that plans to turn yellow peas into plant-based food products has teamed up with the federal government and other companies to innovate from the seed right up to the final product.
More Than Protein Ingredients Ltd. (MTPI), which announced plans last fall to construct and open a pea-processing plant in Bowden next spring, is joining forces with Protein Industries Canada, Quantum Mechanical Technology Inc. and Hamman Ag Research Inc. to make that a reality.
The $29-million project will see Protein Industries Canada, one of five superclusters supported by the federal government, invest $5.7 million in the project. The other partners in the consortium will invest the remaining funds.
It is expected the project will create more than 60 direct jobs and 120 indirect jobs as well as construction jobs.
The consortium and its plans were announced during a Zoom call March 17.
Contributions provided by partners in the process include improving everything from removing the hull of peas and other pulse crops to optimizing their protein and flavour.
Products created could include not only meat but also dairy products and at the same time, water usage and waste will be reduced.
Those on the call included MTPI chief executive officer Kevin McGeough and Alberta Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Economic Development minister Nate Horner.
"More Than Protein feels that our production facility will be one of the most innovative plants in North America,” McGeough said.
“Our emphasis is on process and functionality. Our goal is to develop the capacity to rapidly develop new products and provide a footing for food manufacturers to produce plant-based foods of the future.”
McGeough said the potential exists to not only produce plant-based meat but also products for the pet and livestock industries as well as new industries like bioplastic.
It will have the added advantage of providing an opportunity for farmers to diversify their crops.
Horner noted that demand for plant-based proteins is increasing throughout the world.
He said last year Alberta produced 28 per cent of Canada’s pulse crops and the province’s total value-added exports grew by 23.4 per cent.
“A continued growth of Alberta’s value-added exports is a key component of Alberta’s recovery plan. We want to see our agriculture and food industry not just succeed, but thrive,” Horner said.
“Right now we’re working on 10 new projects with potential investment value of more than $765 million, estimated to lead to 379 new jobs right here in the province.”