A federal program in Canada is allocating $153 million in funding to increase the country’s capacity to process peas and beans—a measure that will keep items such as the pea protein-based Beyond Burger on the menu at chain A&W Canada. The Supercluster Initiative (a $950 million fund) was created by the Canadian government to grow innovation in the food and manufacturing sector, with a portion secured for the plant-based food industry. Frank Hart, chairman of Protein Industries Canada Group (an alliance of 120 companies working to develop plant-based foods) explained that the funding will be used to close the gap between growing demand for vegan products and Canada’s capacity to supply and process necessary crops. “The consumer demand is clearly there, and companies want to produce these new products, but they need the raw material to produce them,” Hart said. “That is actually holding back food companies from moving forward on developing innovative products. A&W Canada added the Beyond Burger to the menu of its 925 locations in July and within less than one month, the chain reported a “Canada-wide” shortage of the vegan-friendly burgers—which are back on the menu as of this month.
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