Protein

Protein Industries Canada and Innovate UK Partner to Catalyze Plant-Based Food Growth in Both Nations

Protein Industries Canada (PIC) and Innovate UK, the UK’s national innovation agency, announce a new bilateral partnership to advance the connections between both countries’ food sectors. 

Through the collaboration, Canada and the UK say they will work together to support innovation of plant-based food and ingredients. 

“These visionary organizations are poised to transform the landscape of the plant-based food industry”

According to PIC, the UK is a “natural partner” given Canada’s position as a top grower and processor of high-protein crops and plant-based ingredients. Canada states it can help supply UK companies with the ingredients they need to create healthy plant-based foods, while giving Canadian companies access to new markets, research and customers. 

Meeting in Ottawa

The partnership officially launched with a webinar on June 7, which introduced UK and Canadian companies to the opportunities and benefits of cross-country collaboration. The initiative continued last week, when Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, François-Philippe Champagne, met with UK Minister of Science George Freeman in Ottawa to deepen discussions on the topic.

This fall, a delegation of  UK businesses, led by Innovate UK, will attend Protein Industries Canada’s Conference and annual general meeting, which will feature a matchmaking event. In turn, a delegation of Canadian companies led by PIC will visit the UK later in September.

Vegan Waygu beef udon close up
© Wamame Foods

“A pivotal step”

“Our government is proud to announce the strategic partnership between Protein Industries Canada and Innovate UK to propel innovation in the plant-based food and ingredients sector,” said The Honourable François- Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. “This collaboration represents a pivotal step toward not only building a sustainable future but also enhancing environmental and human health and boosting economies. These visionary organizations are poised to transform the landscape of the plant-based food industry, pioneering a new era of global partnerships.”

Leading alt-protein

Thanks to its substantial production of plant-based crops and ingredients, Canada is expanding its role as an “agricultural powerhouse” for alternative protein production. In May, PIC announced a collaboration with Netherlands-based Wageningen University & Research to support the global protein transition by committing to the exchange of knowledge.

Vegan Frozen Sushi
©Konscious Foods

Earlier this year, PIC received CAD $150M from the Canadian government to continue its work of accelerating plant protein innovation. 

Nearly $500M invested

In recent years, Canada’s plant-based sector has gained strong momentum, with PIC and other entities investing nearly half a billion dollars in multiple startups and research initiatives. Notable alt-protein companies emerging from Canada include Wamame, maker of Waygu plant-based steak; Big Mountain Foods; Oat Canada oat milk; and Konscious Foods seafood.

“Our vision is to enable people to live longer, healthier lives and we can achieve this by transforming our food system into one that is more productive, sustainable and resilient,” said Executive Director, Healthy Living and Agriculture Domain at Innovate UK, Dr. Katrina Hayter.

Oat Canada oat milk
©Oat Canada

She continued, “Having the opportunity to learn and collaborate with counterparts in Canada is vital for ensuring that technology, practices and sustainability benefits continue to develop, and this partnership represents a landmark moment in bringing the expertise of both nations together in the plant-based foods space. We look forward to supporting new connections and collaborations as the partnership develops, to drive the development and adoption of new technologies across the sector, and enabling the transition to net zero food systems.”

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