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Future of Food

Harvesting Success: Why Canada’s Plant-Based Food Sector Is Thriving 

Sponsored by:
Sponsored by:

Bill Greuel

CEO, Protein Industries Canada

Yves Potvin

CEO, Konscious Foods

Canadian companies are leading the way in plant-based proteins, thanks to abundant high-quality and clean ingredients and a thriving innovation ecosystem.

Canadian companies are at the forefront of the plant-based food sector, propelled by a number of synergistic factors. These include our nation’s plentiful high-protein crops (such as soybeans and pulses like lentils, chickpeas, and fava beans), a surge in each ingredient’s manufacturing and novel ingredient development, and cross-sector collaborations, all of which combine to spur and promote innovation.


Protein Industries Canada contributes significantly to the plant-based food sector’s growth and advancement by providing support to private companies through de-risking innovation, enabling and facilitating collaboration and partnerships within the industry, and delivering industry-wide recommendations on industrial policy in areas such as regulatory modernization, innovation policy, market access, financial capital, and infrastructure development. 

Environmental, nutritional, and cost benefits

“Plant-based proteins and foods offer many consumer benefits,” says Bill Greuel, CEO of Protein Industries Canada. “Globally, food systems account for 20 to 25 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions, and plant-based foods can help reduce the overall food system’s environmental footprint. Consumers are looking for choices that reduce their environmental footprint, and innovation in plant-based foods provides those options. Plant-based foods offer a lot of nutritional benefits, too. They’re generally low in fat and high in fibre. Finally, the rising cost of all food products is top of mind for many consumers today. As we scale up ingredient manufacturing in the plant-based food sector and these products become more available, costs will come down, making plant-based foods more affordable to consumers.”

Pioneering the future 

Protein Industries Canada acts as a leader in the plant-based food industry, helping to fuel innovation and support the sector’s growth. 

“We manage a 10-year, $350-million innovation investment fund,” says Greuel. “We support plant-based food companies by de-risking innovation and supporting the development of new ingredients and products. We also offer advice and technical direction regarding market analysis and trends, intellectual property protection, and building out commercialization plans, and we put companies in collaborative innovation projects with other organizations in the space.” 

Plant-based proteins and foods offer many consumer benefits.

By helping companies accelerate innovation and bringing focus to the growth of the industry through the launch of The Road to 25 Billion — a comprehensive set of recommendations on industrial policy for the growth of Canada’s plant-based, value-added agriculture and plant-based food sector — Protein Industries Canada is helping to create a long term, sustainable industry.

Industry leadership and collaboration    

The collaborative projects that Protein Industries Canada facilitates serve as catalysts, propelling the industry forward and fostering a burgeoning list of Canadian success stories. One of these partnerships is with Konscious Foods, a company founded by industry legend Yves Potvin, a visionary chef and creator of the better-for-you foods movement.

“Konscious Foods is a line of healthy, convenient, plant-based food that’s good for you and good for the planet,” says Potvin, Konscious Foods’ CEO. “We have a sushi line, a line of plant-forward onigiri snacks, and two poke bowls made with plant-based salmon and tuna.”

Innovating the next generation of plant-based foods

Konscious Foods’ products are found in the frozen aisle and contain no artificial ingredients or flavours — just clean ingredients you can find in your pantry. “But the most important thing is that it tastes good,” says Potvin. “Our tuna is made with organic tomato and konjac, and our salmon is made with carrot and konjac. We make all our own products in our 34,000-square-foot facility in Richmond, just outside of Vancouver.”

“We’ve co-invested in a number of projects with Konscious Foods to help them scale up and accelerate the pace of their innovation,” says Greuel. This includes putting Konscious Foods in collaboration with various Canadian ingredient manufacturers, including pulse producers in the Prairies, a seaweed company in British Columbia, and a spirulina company in Quebec. “It’s a great example of what we’re trying to do at Protein Industries Canada, which is the conversion of commodities and crops that we produce in Canada into high-value ingredients, and then utilizing those high-value ingredients in the next step of the value chain, which is the production of plant-based foods in Canada,” adds Greuel.  

Learn more about plant-based foods at proteinindustriescanada.ca.

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