Burcon’s plant protein “transformation”: New pea and canola protein blends launched, JV established to build C$65 million production facility
Having the capacity to produce its unique pea and canola proteins in its own production facility is key to Burcon’s growth and differentiation strategy
24 May 2019 --- Burcon has entered into a joint venture partnership with an investor group to build a new C$65 million pea-protein and canola-protein commercial production facility in Western Canada. Expected to be completed by mid-2020, the protein production facility, will initially process around 20,000 tons of peas per year. Burcon has established a new operating entity, Burcon Functional Foods Corporation (known as Burcon Foods), which will own and operate the new facility. At the same time, Burcon has also launched its new pea -protein and canola -protein blends, Nutratein-PS and Nutratein-TZ.
The moves constitute are “truly transformative” for Burcon, symbolizing development focused on bringing the company’s unique plant proteins to market directly as a producer, according to company President and CEO, Johann F. Tergesen.
Burcon’s novel canola and pea proteins, when combined, create “unique, unparalleled plant-protein blends, with exceptional functional characteristics, low allergenicity, and a nutritional value exceeding those of the standard pea proteins available on the market currently,” according to the company.
Equal to or exceeding dairy and meat in protein quality, the pea and canola protein blends have application potential across a multitude of food and beverage products.
They will be 90 percent pure and will have no bean flavor or texture.
“The ability to blend our pea and canola proteins to create nutritionally unparalleled plant protein combinations, while preserving the highly desirable functional properties the proteins naturally possess, will give us a true competitive advantage,” says Tergesen.
“Having the capacity to produce both our unique pea proteins, as well as our canola proteins, in our own production facility is a key pillar of our differentiation strategy,” he adds.
Burcon Foods has entered into a license agreement with Burcon for the production, sale and distribution of Burcon’s pulse proteins, including Peazazz and Peazac pea proteins, as well as Supertein, Puratein and Nutratein canola proteins. Essential for the acceptance and use of these protein ingredients by leading food and beverage companies, Burcon’s Peazazz and Peazac pea proteins received self-affirmed Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) status last June.
Burcon will be responsible for the technology transfer to Burcon Foods, and will also provide assistance to support the design, construction and commissioning of the commercial protein production facility.
Burcon has entered into a unanimous shareholders agreement with the investor group to become joint equity owners of Burcon Foods. Burcon currently holds 40 percent of the issued and outstanding common shares of Burcon Foods and the investor group owns the remaining 60 percent.
The parties have agreed that on or before July 2, 2019, they will make capital contributions to Burcon Foods in the aggregate of C$10,000,000.
The parties have agreed to make further contributions to Burcon Foods on or before September 3, 2019, in the aggregate amount of C$10,000,000. Burcon intends to fund its portion of the capital contributions through the net proceeds of an equity offering to contribute C$4,000,000 to Burcon Foods on or before July 2, 2019, and a further C$4,000,000 to Burcon Foods on or before September 3, 2019.
The protein production project is well advanced, including product ingredient trials that have been underway by a number of fast moving consumer goods companies (FMCG) over the last two years who were given samples of Burcon’s novel protein ingredients.
Some of the initial investigations by these FMCG companies have evolved into product development projects, says Burcon, which has provided invaluable insights about the demand and pricing for the protein products and byproducts that will be produced at Burcon Foods’ new pea and canola protein production plant.
Burcon’s announcements come amid a boom in plant-based proteins as food innovators pioneers continue to develop vegetarian and vegan products primarily based on pea protein, as well as other ingredients.
At the same time, plant-based food is growing in the foodservice sector where restaurants and fast-food chains are quickly expanding their menus to reflect this growing need. To say the meat-free space is developing quickly is an understatement as consumers are increasingly demanding products which contain no animal-sourced ingredients, while still requiring that their texture and flavor meet high standards.
The demand for pea protein specifically is expanding rapidly amid a wave of fast-growing specialty food companies, as well as large-scale multinational consumer-packaged goods (CPG) companies seeking to respond to consumer demand for more natural and high-nutrition products.
As a pioneer in the development of novel plant-based protein ingredients, Burcon has developed technologies for the production of value-added proteins from a variety of plant-based sources including soy; pulses (including pea); canola; hemp and flax, to name a few.
Pea offers important advantages to consumers, and to farmers as its production is environmentally-friendly while being an excellent source of protein, with numerous applications in dairy-free foods, vegetarian foods, sports and slimming foods, senior nutrition and clinical nutrition.
Burcon says its Peazazz pea protein has uniquely clean flavor characteristics and exceptional solubility. It is well-suited for use in beverages, alternative dairy products, meal replacements as well as a variety of other healthy and great tasting food and beverage product applications.
Burcon’s blend of Peazac pea protein and Puratein canola protein, branded as Nutratein-TZ, also has functional properties making it ideally suited in the formulation of plant-based meat products such as veggie-burgers, or veggie-sausages. Both Nutratein proteins are over 90 percent pure protein.
As one of the world’s most important oilseed crops, canola is grown for its highly prized oil. Up until now, after pressing the valuable oil from canola, the residual meal has predominantly been sold as animal feed, notes Burcon. However, the company’s innovative technology unlocks the protein from canola meal for human consumption in the form of highly purified protein ingredients with exceptional functional properties and unique nutritional value, it says.
The combination of their functional and nutritional properties makes Burcon’s canola proteins ideally suited for use in a wide assortment of food and beverage applications. Burcon extracts and purifies two distinctly different canola protein fractions branded under the trade names Puratein and Supertein, both of which have pre-market approval for human consumption.
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