New Manitoba pea, canola protein plant hopes to sell to companies like Beyond Meat

A field of canola in bloom.
A field of canola in bloom. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Keith Levit

Manitoba is getting another pea-processing plant.

Burcon Nutrascience is planning to set up a $65 million facility just outside of Winnipeg that will process 20,000 tonnes of peas each year.

President and CEO Johann Tergesen said the plant will handle both peas and canola, saying up until now, canola was generally only used for the oil for food, with the seed and mulch leftover going to animal feed.

READ MORE: China cancels major canola shipments from Winnipeg company amid rising tensions

“What we do in our process is that we actually extract the protein from that starting material and we separate it into two different proteins that occur in canola.

“And those proteins can be used, in one case they work brilliantly in beverages, and that’s the certain protein from canola we call super gene, and the other protein would be perfect for the kind of thing that everybody talks about these days — veggie burgers.”

Story continues below advertisement

The pea and canola protein is in much higher demand with the release of burgers like the Beyond Meat burger, which uses the protein to help approximate the taste of meat in meatless burgers.

READ MORE: Canola farmers still uncertain about Chinese market access

Tergesen says the company has been in the city working on vegetable protein development for a while.

The plant is expected to be operational next summer and will employ about 85 people, said Tergesen, adding the Manitoba location is perfect, with lots of land, hydro electricity, an educated workforce and canola farmers.

RELATED: Canola producers disappointed with feds’ offer to help

Canola producers disappointed with feds’ offer to help
Canola producers disappointed with feds’ offer to help