Burcon Nutrascience’s (BU.T) joint venture with Merit Functional Foods Corporation finished their first commercial production of their lineup of Puratein canola proteins today, according to a press release.
Burcon’s fleet of scientists and chemical engineers put in two decades of work to find the full nutritional and functional benefits of canola proteins. After which, Burcon, Merit and three other veteran food industry execs joined forces in 2019 to bring a protein production facility to Manitoba, capable of producing the fruits of their labours at commercial scale.
“This is a truly momentous achievement for us and one that has been a long time in the making, Burcon first embraced the vision of canola’s potential as a premium, food-grade protein source over 20 years ago. Today, Merit Foods, with its just-completed high-tech plant protein production facility, is bringing eco-friendly canola proteins to market using Burcon’s patented processing technology. These proteins stand to change the way the world’s consumers get their protein,” said Johann F. Tergeson, Burcon’s president and CEO.
Buron’s involved in the clean-table, plant-based protein game. They have over 300 patents and more than 225 outstanding patent applications, developed over two decades. They also sport a portfolio of composition, application and process patents for plant-based proteins from pea, canola, soy, hemp and others.
Canola is one of those specific Canadian inventions like plexiglas, the pacemaker and the goalie mask. It was developed out of rapeseed in the 1970’s by Canadian researchers Baldur Stefansson and Keith Downey. This advance gave the go-ahead for production and use of canola oil for human consumption, and since that time canola oil has grown to become the number two oilseed in the world—behind soybeans and ahead of sunflower seed, peanuts and cottonseed.
Merit’s new production facility will produce pea and canola protein ingredients using Burcon’s licensed technology. The facility is 94,000 square feet and was custom built to handle both non-GMO canola and yellow field peas, so it can produce Merit’s Puratein lineup of canola proteins, its Peazazz and Peazac pea proteins and its MeritPro protein blends.
“This milestone is a significant step toward fulfilling canola’s enormous global potential as an important, new, environmentally friendly source of high-quality, plant-based protein for food and beverage product development. As the world’s second-largest oilseed crop, canola protein is perfectly positioned to offer a sustainable way to feed and nourish the world’s growing population,” said Tergeson.
Merit will be optimizing their manufacturing practice over the next coming weeks and intends on meeting the commercial milestones they set for Q2 for tasty, better functioning and healthy plant protein options.
According to marketdataforecast.com, the global rapeseed oil market was valued at USD$34.9 million in 2020 and is expected to jump to $48.1 million by the end of 2025, reflecting a CAGR of 4.78% between 2020 and 2025. It’s expected to jump in popularity when the market notes that it’s full of antioxidant vitamin E and good fats.
Burcon’s shares dipped $0.28 today to close at $5.14. The real story with the price is the peaks and valleys over the past year with Burcon’s share with the company’s share price showing a low of $3.90 in February before rebounding to a high of $5.40 earlier this month.