Home » Industry » How Innovative Companies Are Tackling the Biggest Challenges in Food and Nutrition [PANEL]
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Shelley King

CEO, Natural Products Canada

The global population is expected to reach 10 billion by 2050. That will mean a tremendous strain on the planet and our food production resources. Shelley King, CEO of Natural Products Canada, an organization that helps companies commercialize naturally-derived products and technologies, says that Canada’s entrepreneurs are meeting this challenge head on. “Companies like BiofusionLP protect the soil and increase yield potential with a biomulch spray that eliminates field plastic, reduces erosion, and preserves moisture levels; while BioTEPP’s chemical-free biopesticide protects fruit trees from the damaging codling moths,” she says.

King describes how other companies address environmental issues. Entomo Farms and Oberland Agriscience raise insects to meet the demand for sustainable protein for people and animals, and companies like BOSK BioProducts and Nature Knows have developed biodegradable plastics and other food packaging. 

Finally, King says Chickapea, YoFiit, and Brain Bar are just some of the exceptional companies delivering plant-based functional foods — right on trend with today’s eco- and nutrition-conscious consumer and the future of food.

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BiofusionLP is a Canadian company that produces a commercial grade sprayable liquid organic bio-mulch, branded as Soil Armor®. The product is focused on replacing single-use field plastic for protected agriculture, has been fully tested and approved for safe use, and will start to naturally decompose at the end of the harvest season.

How does Biofusion LP help tackle big challenges in food and nutrition?
Soil Armor® is a proprietary organic sprayed liquid mulch that cures to provide a natural protective soil cover. Soil Armor® will organically provide the same positive attributes as field plastic by conserving soil moisture lost through evaporation, minimizing the loss of soil from wind and rain erosion, moderating soil temperatures, inhibiting weed growth, encouraging the growth of beneficial soil microorganisms, and reducing the spread of soil-borne pathogens by preventing soil from splashing onto plants during rainstorms and watering.

Soil Armor® is an effective Canadian biotechnology which will help to tackle the global food crisis by protecting and preserving our precious soil to support larger crop yields for increased food production.
Soil Armor® is composed of all-natural products, creating a true circular economy which contributes to a healthier planet ecosystem. Visit biofusionlp.com to learn more.

Entomo Farms logo

Entomo Farms is North America’s largest farm raising crickets for human consumption. Customers use its products to add clean, unprocessed protein and nutrients to smoothies, baking, desserts, and main courses.

How does Entomo Farms help tackle big challenges in food and nutrition?
Crickets offer a unique solution. Nutritionally, they’re similar to meat, containing protein, vitamin B12, and iron. But they can be raised sustainably since they require much less land, water, and carbon emissions than other meat products. They also contain a natural prebiotic fibre linked to a healthy gut biome with the potential to improve immunity and overall health. The company offers a convenient food for healthy people and a healthy planet.

Nature Knows has created a solution to eat well on the go and to reduce waste for today’s busy families and professionals. It offers ready-to-eat fresh fruits and veggies in eco-friendly, breathable, and no-plastic packaging that stay fresh refrigerated for 50 percent longer than fruits and veggies packaged in commonly-used plastics. The fruits and veggies are pre-washed, no prep, no fuss, and fun to eat, offering a healthy, delicious, and sustainable option to meal prep and snacking well at home, at work, and at play. Family-sized and single serve portion sizes are available, and all of the company’s products are all-natural, nut-free, dairy-free, and gluten-free to suit all ages and dietary needs.

How does Nature Knows help tackle big challenges in food and nutrition?
With health being one of the top issues affecting everyone, the impact of eating well with more fruits and vegetables and less processed food is critical. Nature Knows’ mission is to help people live healthier lives more sustainably and to help increase our fresh produce intake each day. Canadians are currently only eating approximately 3 portions of fruits or veggies per person, yet we know from Canada’s Food Guide and from dietitians’ and nutritionists’ expertise that we should be increasing that to a minimum of 7 portions, ideally even 10. By providing ready-to-eat, pre-washed, and convenient formats, Nature Knows is helping to make it simple to eat well both at home and on the go. Nature Knows is also helping to endorse the Half Your Plate Canadian Produce Marketing Association program, using its logo right on their compostable pouches. With products packaged only in 100 percent eco-friendly formats, Nature Knows is also leading positive climate change action in reducing food waste and plastics.

Chickapea’s mission is to create good for the world through nutritious, organic meal options and impactful social contributions. Chickapea offers nutritious, high-protein pasta made with just organic chickpeas and lentils that cooks and tastes like traditional pasta. With 23 grams of protein, 11 grams of fibre, and loads of nutrients per serving, including iron, magnesium, folate, and vitamins, consumers don’t have to sacrifice nutrition or compromise on taste for a convenient, quick meal.

All Chickapea foods are organic, non-GMO, gluten-free, vegan, and kosher. The company prides itself on offering the highest-quality, best-tasting, cleanest, and most sustainable meal options possible.

How does Chickapea help tackle big challenges in food and nutrition?
As a Certified B Corporation (a new kind of business that balances purpose and profit), Chickapea meets the highest measurable standards of environmental and social responsibility. Chickapea is a force for good, making it easier to lead a healthier life and to support sustainable, organic, and plant-based farming practices.

Chickapea isn’t just benefiting those that consume its products, but also those in the greatest need around the world, as well as its farmers, suppliers, and employees. By giving three cents from every package sold to feed nutritious meals to children in need and by donating thousands of pounds of pasta to food banks each year, Chickapea is determined to make a healthy impact on people and the planet.

YoFiit was founded to bring complete nutrition to the plant-based market. Co-founder Marie Amazan left a 15-year career in investment management with a mission to create a line of plant-based products with elevated nutrition and minimal sugar. The company’s high-protein chickpea milk alternative has brought innovation to the shelf-stable milk alternative aisle and its low-sugar, nutrient-rich bars fill a previously-overlooked niche in the bar category.

How does YoFiit help tackle big challenges in food and nutrition?
YoFiit’s belief is that plant-based eating and high nutrition are intertwined. On one hand, the company is tackling the environmental crisis by using only plant-based ingredients, since they use less water and cause fewer carbon emissions than animal products. Another way they tackle this challenge is by only making nutrient-dense products and not wasting energy on making empty foods. As an example, their high-protein chickpea milk alternative offers 10 times more nutrients, such as protein, than almond milk alternatives, making it an efficient use of scarce resources to produce something that actually nourishes people.

On the other hand, YoFiit is specifically addressing nutrient deficiencies by inspiring people to quit sugar, eliminate unhealthy ingredients from their diets, and aim for better nutrition with nutrient-rich and low-sugar products.

Born in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains, Brain Bar is a brain-healthy protein bar made with Canadian agri-food ingredients. Within a few months of its soft launch in late 2018, the first flavour of Brain Bar is already on grocery store shelves alongside big U.S. brands. The start-up company is currently building out its product line using functional ingredients such as omega-3s, medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), adaptogenic mushrooms, flavonoids, and cannabis derivatives.

How does Brain Bar help tackle big challenges in food and nutrition?
Brain Bar is a convenient answer to booming consumer demand for functional, plant-based nutrition – especially when it comes to brain health. An estimated 50 million people worldwide suffer from Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses are also on the rise. Research tells us that making more mindful choices in our diet and lifestyle is the best defence against cognitive decline. So, why not grab a Brain Bar before your next study session, yoga class, or mountain hike?

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