NRGene Canada, Farmers Business Network Canada, Inc., Pulse Genetics and Manitoba Harvest are coming together to develop new pea and hemp varieties for use in food and ingredient processing, including a new pea-hemp flour blend. This is in partnership with Protein Industries Canada.
The partners will focus on increasing the protein content and improving the starch content and texture of ingredients derived from the new varieties, potentially increasing their use in plant-based foods and beverages across Canada and internationally.
“With this project, Canada’s small and medium-sized enterprises are once again showing us that they are at the forefront of innovation in the plant-based protein industry,” said François-Philippe Champagne, innovation, science and industry minister. “This collaboration will enable the partners to develop products and create new plant-protein varieties more rapidly and at a lower cost, helping meet the demands of Canadians and offering them more choices for high-protein, plant-based products at their local grocery stores.”
Pulse Genetics will focus on improving Canada’s well-established pea sector, while Farmer’s Business Network Canada, Inc., will focus on the country’s growing hemp sector; both will utilize NRGene’s genomics technology in their efforts to develop new varieties. While commercialization of the new varieties won’t occur until after the project’s completion, Manitoba Harvest will work with existing varieties to develop a pea-hemp flour blend that will become a base formulation they will improve upon once access to the new varieties becomes available.
The development of these new varieties, as well as the pea-hemp flour blend, is expected to create new market opportunities along Canada’s plant-based food and ingredients value chain, including for farmers, ingredient processors and food manufacturers. The utilization and scaling up of NRGene’s genomics technology will also supply researchers and crop breeders with advanced breeding tools that will shorten breeding cycles, particularly for pea and hemp varieties.
NRGene, Farmer’s Business Network Canada, Inc., Pulse Genetics and Manitoba Harvest are together investing $3.3 million into the project, with Protein Industries Canada investing an additional $1.8 million. The total project investment is $5.1 million.