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Jul 15, 2019

Pea-protein craze lures second processing plant to Manitoba

Pea-protein craze lures second processing plant to Manitoba

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The pea-protein craze has led to Manitoba landing its second pea processing facility, a $65 million plant near Winnipeg.

The Burcon NutraScience Corp. (BU.TO) is planning to open a 20,000-ton processing facility in mid-2020, which will create 80 to 85 jobs, according to Chief Executive Officer Johann Tergesen. The plant will be able to swing between producing pea and canola protein, Tergesen said an interview Monday at Burcon’s technical center in Winnipeg.

As such, “it’ll be the only commercial canola protein production facility in the world,” he said.

Canada is a global leader in growing peas and is the biggest single producer of canola. France-based Roquette Freres SA is constructing a pea processing facility near Portage la Prairie, Manitoba that is expected to be up and running next year.

 

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Burcon NutraScience Chief Executive Officer Johann Tergesen. (Shannon VanRaes/Bloomberg)

Pea protein has become the latest food craze as consumers are looking for more alternative options to meat that taste appealing. Companies like Beyond Meat use pea protein as an ingredient.

There’s so much demand for pea protein that “we are actually realizing that the plant we’re building is too small,” Tergesen said. “We’re going to go ahead and build it this size, and we can expand.”

The Burcon facility will be owned by Merit Functional Foods Corporation, which is 40 per cent owned by Burcon. The remaining 60 per cent of Merit is owned by Shaun Crew, Barry Tomiski and Ryan Bracken, who were involved in the founding of Hemp Oil Canada Inc. Merit will market Burcon’s pea and canola proteins to food manufacturer companies.