A federal program in Canada will soon invest approximately $150 million in the country’s plant-based food industry. Canada created a $950 million Supercluster Initiative that is intended to fund innovation in the food and manufacturing sector, and a portion of that fund was secured last month in the growing area of plant-based food innovation. Frank Hart, chairman of Protein Industries Canada Group (an alliance of 120 companies working to develop plant-based foods), told CTV News Canada that the funds will go toward developing new foods from flax seeds, hemp, oats, and pulses—Western Canada’s largest crop. “It’s a market that’s expected to expand in a significant way,” Hart said. Pulse Canada CEO Gordon Bacon explained that consumers are increasingly interested in plant-based food. “It’s a combination of a shift in processing, it’s a shift in consumer awareness, and it’s also a shift in cost,” Bacon said, “where meat companies (and) dairy companies are looking for plant-based protein to complement their product line. It’s not one versus the other.” The shift Bacon described is evident in recent acquisitions made by Canadian companies, including meat brand Maple Foods, which acquired two plant-based brands, Field Roast and Lightlife Foods, for $120 million and $140 million, respectively.
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