$11.4M Investment Set to Revolutionize Canadian Market With “Category First” Whole Muscle Salmon

Protein Industries Canada announces a significant investment in the advancement of novel food options for Canadian consumers, marking the inaugural project investment within its second mandate.

The initiative will combine the expertize of New School Foods, Liven Proteins, and NuWave Research to commercialize a plant-based whole-muscle salmon product, and notably, the announcement shortly follows the formation of the world’s first alternative seafood association, Future Ocean Foods.

The three companies will work together to bring to market a whole-muscle cut of plant-based salmon “that transforms from raw to cooked” (no further information is given as to the manner of the “transformation”). Described as a category first, the media release states that the salmon product will offer the same taste and texture as conventional salmon.

A trio of expertize

New School Foods will employ its recently developed production techniques to craft the plant-based whole salmon fillet. Liven, whose co-founder and CEO has just been announced as this year’s winner of the Vegan Women Summit’s Pathfinder Virtual Pitch Competition, is harnessing precision fermentation to produce animal-free proteins.

Meanwhile, NuWave Research is actively involved in advancing and verifying novel production methodologies for its core vacuum microwave technology, which can expedite the production processes not only for New School Foods but also for various other entities in the industry. “NuWave is excited to support Canadian innovation alongside our Protein Industries Canada partners. Utilizing our patented vacuum microwave technology, our team will help empower New School Foods to bring their product to the next stage of commercialization,” comments Greg Stromotich, CEO of NuWave Research Inc.

Plant-based Salmon Filet
©New School Foods

Innovation as an ongoing process

The undertaking entails a funding of $11.4 million in research and development to facilitate the commercialization of the plant-based salmon. Protein Industries Canada will invest just over $4.5 million, while the consortium partners will fund the remaining portion. Building upon the foundation established by New School Food’s and Liven Proteins’ initial project, which successfully validated the requisite technology for formulating a complete muscle-cut product, this endeavor will concentrate on the expansion of production capabilities and the introduction of a fully market-ready commercial product.

“Innovation is an ongoing process. It is the continual improvement of ideas, and the generating and stacking of IP to ultimately create a revolutionary product or service,” CEO of Protein Industries Canada Bill Greuel said. “This project exemplifies the Global Innovation Cluster program and the benefits of collaborative innovation. By building off IP generated in the first project, and by bringing in new partners and their IP, new technology is being created, leading to a premier, commercial, first-to-market product.”

“Building on the success of our previous project, which yielded a world-first whole-cut seafood alternative that looks, cooks, tastes, and flakes like salmon, we are excited for this new project to bring this product to market,” explains Chris Bryson, founder & CEO of New School Foods. “In addition to optimizing our novel food processing technology with the support of our consortium partners, we’ll be building out our own production assembly line, providing a competitive advantage to fine-tune product quality and optimize costs so that we can create a plant-based alternative built for a wide audience.”

Canada Chickpeas
© Protein Industries Canada

Since its inception in 2018, Protein Industries Canada, in collaboration with industry stakeholders, has channeled investments nearing half a billion dollars into innovative initiatives related to plant-based food, feed, and ingredients. Notably, Protein Industries Canada received a renewal from the federal government in February 2023, accompanied by an additional infusion of $150 million in funding. The organization joined forces this summer with Innovate UK, the UK’s national innovation agency, for a new bilateral partnership to advance the connections between both countries’ food sectors.

“Our government is pleased to see the Protein Industries Cluster and its project partners build on the success of this truly Canadian innovative solution,” said the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. “These new technologies will support the increased production of a high-quality plant-based salmon fillet alternative, expanding sustainable and nutritious options available to Canadians and helping meet domestic and global demands.”

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