Nestlé has announced a joint agreement with two Canadian plant-based food companies — Burcans NutraScience and Merit Functional Foods — to help accelerate the development of Nestlé’s line of meat and dairy alternatives that are both healthy and eco-friendly.
The multinational Swiss brand will use Burcon NutraScience’s plant protein extraction and purification technology and Merit’s pea and canola protein as a new source of ingredients for their plant-based food and beverages.
“Developing nutritious and great-tasting plant-based meat and dairy alternatives requires access to tasty, nutritious and sustainable raw materials as well as proprietary manufacturing technology,” said Stefan Palzer, Nestlé’s chief technology officer. “The partnership with Burcon and Merit will give us access to unique expertise and a new range of high-quality ingredients for plant-based food and beverages.”
Although plant-based food has only recently gained mainstream attraction in the last few years, Vancouver-based research and development company, Burcon, has been manufacturing protein from pea, canola, soy, hemp, sunflower seed and other crops for more than 20 years and has acquired hundreds of patents along the way.
Its joint venture brand, Merit Functional Foods, was created last year by three food industry executives. The functional food line includes alternative milk, creamers, protein powders, meat, and snack bars all sourced from Burcon’s pea and canola extracts.
“Partnering with Nestlé – a global leader in food and nutrition – is a great milestone for Merit Functional Foods,” Merit Co-CEO Ryan Bracken said. “Merit has already demonstrated the impact of our novel proteins in plant-based foods. This new partnership helps build on this, and it’s a major step in developing the next generation of nutritious and delicious plant-based products that draw on the benefits of our novel proteins.”
Merit is currently building a new state-of-the-art production facility to manufacture its ingredients at a commercial scale for Nestlé, who will then market and incorporate the ingredient through its large-scale distribution network of plant-based products. Construction is expected to be finished by the fourth quatre of this year.