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According to the firm, when complete, the new commercial facility will be the first and only to have the capability to produce food-grade canola protein.
Merit Functional Foods (Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada) has announced that the construction of its 94,000-square food production facility is underway. The facility’s superstructure was assembled in May, and the initial placement of equipment and enclosure of the building is occurring through out June. According to the firm, when complete, the new commercial facility will be the first and only to have the capability to produce food-grade canola protein.
“This facility is going to be key in redefining plant-based protein,” said Merit co-CEO Ryan Bracken, in a press release. “It’s a flexible facility that will produce an unprecedented pea protein and the first canola protein available for use in foods and beverages. Both of these proteins will have functional and nutritional characteristics that will set them apart from other ingredients available on the market.”
The facility’s current design is optimized to meet the initial market demand for Merit’s specialty protein ingredients, with future growth in mind. “We are already anticipating future demand, which will allow us to be agile by significantly increasing our capacity when the time is right,” said Bracken. “We know that our customers will rely on us for consistency in their supply chain as they scale up their production of plant-based foods.”
To commercialize and expand production capacity to address the growing global demand for plant proteins, Merit has secured a debt financing package from a consortium of lenders. These include Export Development Canada (EDC), Farm Credit Canada, Agricultural and Agri-Food Canada, and CIBC.
“We are pleased to be supporting Merit on their first commercial-scale project as they leverage their unique technology to bring innovative plant-based proteins to international markets,” said Carl Burlock, executive vice president and chief business officer at EDC, in a press release. “We look forward to seeing the positive impacts that Merit has on the global food and beverage industry.”
With its innovative protein extraction technology, Merit hopes to position Canada as one the world’s leaders in plant-based protein. “The made-in-Canada agricultural technologies and innovations from Merit Functional Foods not only give us a competitive advantage in the global marketplace, but they are also creating jobs and adding value to our farmers’ commodities,” said the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. “This is a very exciting project that demonstrates our Government’s commitment to positioning Canada as a leader in the production of plant proteins.”
The facility is on track to be fully operational in the fourth quarter of 2020.