Food In Canada

New partnership will enhance Canada’s plant-based cheese market




Protein Industries Canada (PIC) announces a new project that will leverage the combined strengths of Lumi Foods, Winecrush Technology and Save-On-Foods to enhance Canada’s plant-based cheese market. This includes developing new products, as well as giving them a more prominent placement in grocery stores across the country.

The project partners will use Lumi Foods’ cultured cheesemaking methods—which enables the continued use of the term “cheese”—to create a new line of plant-based cheeses made from Canadian-grown crops, including oats, legumes and pulses. Their development represents a step forward in the plant-based cheese realm, both in terms of labelling and ingredient use, as most plant-based cheeses are currently made from ingredients sourced outside of Canada.

“This new project truly showcases the innovation happening right now in Canada. With this innovation, we will be able to provide locally made food options for Canadians looking for dairy-free options or who follow a plant-based diet. The Protein Industries Supercluster’s investment in this project will assure us that we are producing the next generation of plant-based cheese, here in Canada,” said François-Philippe Champagne, minister of innovation, science and industry.

Once developed, the plant-based cheeses will be sold in Save-On-Foods locations across Canada. To help ensure the plant-based cheeses are shelf-stable for longer lengths of time, Winecrush Technology will test shelf-extending ingredients in the recipes, including dietary fibre and unsaturated fatty acids.

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“It takes true dedication to evolve a sector, and that’s exactly what’s happening with this project,” PIC CEO Bill Greuel said. “Lumi Foods, Save-On-Foods and Winecrush Technology are proving that through innovation and collaboration, new plant-based products, specifically cheese, can be made with Canadian-grown ingredients – a first for Canada. It is through innovation like this that our country will become a world-leader in the production of plant-based foods, helping us reach our goal of $25 billion in sales by 2035.”

In addition to expanding this line of cheeses, the partners are also dedicated to strengthening Canada’s plant-based cheese sector as a whole. To help make this happen, they’ll work with the University of Alberta to perform complimentary research, focused on identifying strains of microbes that can be specialized for plant-based cheesemaking. This research will help improve the flavour, structure and aroma of plant-based cheeses, meeting consumer demand for plant-based products that are healthy and sustainable while also tasting delicious.

The partners have together invested $5.4 million into the project, with PIC investing an additional $5.4 million. The total project co-investment is $10.8 million.

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