Today, Protein Industries Canada announced a co-investment into the development of a novel plant-based protein blend that will be designed to meet the protein needs of hospitalized and outpatient individuals, and highly active athletic consumers.
A $2.2 million co-investment, the project is being led by Enhanced Medical Nutrition (EMN) and Infinit Nutrition Canada (INC). The partners are focusing on meeting the rising demand for high-quality plant-based protein options within the clinical and athletic markets. They’re targeting consumers where sufficient protein intakes pose a challenge, particularly individuals recovering from surgery, the critically ill and athletes building muscle mass.
“There are endless opportunities for plant-based protein products. Demand is growing for these products around the world, and we need to encourage the Canadian innovators so they are the ones who meet that demand. This announcement is just one more solid example of how the Protein Industries Supercluster is adding value to our farmers’ crops and keeping the sector at the forefront of innovation,” said the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-food.
EMN and INC will create ready-to-mix and modular protein powders that are allergen-free, clean label and ethically sourced and manufactured from Canadian raw materials. The modular powders will be used in healthcare settings where they can be mixed into beverages or soft foods, increasing the protein content of the meal, or flushed through feeding tubes to deliver a dose of protein on top of the prescribed tube feed. The ready-to-mix powders will also be designed for hospital use, as well as for outpatient settings and at-home use.
“Increasingly consumers are turning to plant-based diets. The amount of protein they need differs depending on factors such as their lifestyle and health situation,” CEO of Protein Industries Canada Bill Greuel said. “This rising demand and difference in needs makes it crucial that plant-based protein options are available in all settings and all forms—from grocery shelves to hospital kitchens, and from ready-to-mix powders to mixtures compatible with enteral feeding syringes. Making these products easily available helps ensure that all Canadians have access to a healthy, nutritious diet.”
EMN and INC are also engaging with Dr. Stuart Phillips, an internationally recognized dietary, protein, exercise and nutrition scientist, on the project. Phillips will conduct research to investigate the plant-protein blend at the Protein Metabolism Research Lab (PMRL) at McMaster University.
“There is a significant impact that will be realized in the clinical nutrition market as a result of this project,” EMN Co-founder and CEO Eric Zimmerman said. “This market is one that requires nutrition solutions based on scientific evidence. With the help of McMaster and PIC, we can create science-driven plant-protein powders that will meet the growing demand for these products in the clinical setting.”
“Infinit Nutrition Canada is thrilled to be working directly with Enhanced Medical Nutrition and Dr. Stuart Phillips of McMaster University,” CEO of INC Darcy Haggith said. “We are developing and commercializing evidence-based, plant-based protein products that will deliver the same nutritional punch that the highest quality whey isolates currently provide to the high performance athletic and active aging populations that we serve. Creating plant-based products that stack up against the best animal protein isolates fits completely with our ‘Tread Lightly’ and ‘Think Outside of the Box’ company values. We are so excited to be creating a product that is sustainable, utilizes abundant Canadian resources, and fits with the growing shift to a plant-based diet.”
“It’s exciting to be working with Canadian businesses like EMN and INC to develop plant-based products that suits consumers needs,” Phillips said. “McMaster University looks forward to doing some great science with these companies and PIC.”
This is Protein Industries Canada’s 15th technology project announcement. With industry, Protein Industries Canada has committed more than $320 million into Canada’s plant-protein sector. They are currently accepting Expressions of Interest for both their Technology and Capacity Building programs.