Opportunities in the alternative protein market.

The alternative protein market is thriving!

It’s estimated that one in every ten servings of meat, dairy, eggs and seafood eaten globally will come from alternative proteins. And the industry itself is forecasted to reach US $290 billion by 2035.

Alternative proteins are derived from plants, algae, fermentation, cellular agriculture (animal cells), insects and other methods of protein generation that are not dependent on animals and are designed to taste similar (or better) than animal products, while costing the same or less.

Key factors driving the demand for alternative proteins include the growing interest in health and nutrition, environmental sustainability, animal welfare, and food security. Alternative proteins are considered to be a healthy food choice and appeal to all demographics. The largest area for growth in the market is from those on a flexitarian diet.  

Canada is an active player in this rapidly growing and evolving market. It is the world’s largest exporter of pulses, and plant-based protein products are made from pulses including beans, lentils, peas, and other legumes, as well as seeds, grains and nuts. Canada’s goal is to supply 10% of the world’s plant-based foods by 2035.  

Canada has the potential to become a global leader in alternative proteins production, and has made great progress in this area. A recent report provides an overview of the industry and highlights six key advantages and strengths that make Canada a country to watch, including agricultural capacity, research and development expertise, government support, cohesive industry innovation networks, sustainability commitments, and market and regulatory access. (Challenges such as quality, capacity and price are considered, but can be turned into growth opportunities.) The report also provides a snapshot of investment, development and research activity, and a list of emerging Canadian companies that are developing new product, ingredients, technologies, and solutions in the alternative proteins industry. Examples include start-ups, large agrifood corporations, investors, research facilities, and others involved in the industry.    

The Government of Canada is supportive and committed to further innovations within the industry. It has allocated funding of $750 million investment into the Global Innovation Cluster program. Protein Industries Canada is one of five innovation clusters to receive funds of  $353 million from 2018 through to 2028.     

A lot of activity and development is happening in the alternative proteins market, as it can offer a more diversified food system that benefits and supports the health and welfare of consumers, animals, the environment, and food security. Canada has many strengths and advantages in the alternative proteins industry and presents many possible business opportunities for investment, partnerships, innovation, product development, services, and technologies.


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