Like many food growers and producers globally, Canada is preparing itself for a major change in consumer behaviour that will produce nothing less than a revolution in the way the world produces and consumes food.
Driven by demographic changes and the growth of the middle class across Asia, demand for plant-based proteins is predicted to increase by as much as 70 per cent by 2050. This will present both an unprecedented challenge and a great opportunity for agricultural producers and exporters worldwide.
According to a recent report by Ernst and Young, the demand for crops used in meat-alternative products alone could grow to between 41m and 66m metric tonnes by 2035 and the international market for meat alternatives is expected to rise to between CDN$107bn and CDN$180bn during the same period. Such is the expectation that US$5.9bn investment was raised by alternative protein companies in the past decade, more than half of which occurred in 2020.
After three years in development, one of the most significant additions to Canada’s burgeoning plant protein sector started its commissioning at the end of 2020 when Roquette opened the world’s largest pea protein processing facility just outside Portage-la-Prairie, Manitoba.
Operating in more than 100 countries and employing more than 8,000 people worldwide, Roquette is a global leader in plant-based ingredients, plant proteins and pharmaceutical excipients. When the capacity of its Canadian plant is combined with that of Roquette’s other facility in France, the company will not only have the largest capacity for producing pea protein in the world, but will also ensure security of supply for its global customer base.
Roquette’s choice of Canada and its decision to invest almost €400m (more than CDN $600m) in the new facility testify to Canada’s strategic importance in the plant protein market as well as its global appeal to investors, explains Pierre Courduroux, the company’s chief executive.