Burcon builds factory to support new pea and canola protein blends

Protein blends can be used in dairy and meat substitutes, with protein content on par with the real-deal

Blends can be used as meat and dairy alternatives. Photo as seen on company website

Burcon NutraScience Corporation has released new pea-protein and canola-protein blends: Nutratein-PS and Nutratein-TZ, building a new factory to support production.

The plant-based protein developer’s novel canola and pea proteins, when combined, create unique plant-protein blends, with functional characteristics such as low allergenicity, and a nutritional value exceeding standard pea proteins available on the market today.

“Burcon’s novel and proprietary pea and canola proteins have exciting applications in numerous food and beverage products,” said Johann F Tergesen, Burcon’s president and CEO.

The company has also announced 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. A new operating entity, Burcon Functional Foods Corporation will own and operate the new protein production facility.

The protein production facility, which is planned to initially process approximately 20,000 tonnes of peas per year starting in mid-2020, will produce Burcon’s Peazazz and Peazac pea proteins, as well as Burcon’s Supertein, Puratein and Nutratein canola proteins.

The investor group has committed to providing up to $16 million in capital contributions, but funding is also expected to include support from Canadian and provincial government agencies and organisations. The anticipated funding structure is expected to provide tremendous leverage to Burcon, whereby Burcon’s capital contributions will be limited to only approximately 12.3% of the total project cost, while maintaining 40% equity ownership of Burcon Foods.

What’s new

Burcon’s blend of its proprietary Peazazz pea protein and Supertein canola protein, branded as Nutratein-PS, with its clean flavour and high solubility, is a suited protein blend for fortifying dairy-alternative beverages such as almond milk, or to formulate a standalone beverage with a nutritional value consistent with the gold standard of cow’s milk.  

Burcon’s blend of Peazac pea protein and Puratein canola protein, branded as Nutratein-TZ, has functional properties making it appropriate for the formulation of plant-based meat products such as veggie-burgers, or veggie-sausages and with a PDCAAS which actually exceeds that of beef. Both Nutratein proteins are over 90% pure protein.

Both Puratein and Supertein have pre-market approval for human consumption through the GRAS Notification program of the FDA.

Pea Protein

Field peas offer important advantages to consumers, and to farmers as their production is environmentally friendly while being a great source of protein, with numerous applications in dairy-free foods, vegetarian foods, meat analogues, sports and slimming foods, seniors nutrition and clinical nutrition products.

Pea is a good source of protein; however, the nutritional value of pea protein falls below the gold standard of animal protein such as dairy protein or egg protein.

Canola Protein

Pea protein’s nutritional value is limited by its low level of the amino acids methionine and cysteine; in contrast, Burcon’s canola protein is uniquely rich in these same amino acids. By blending Burcon’s pea and canola proteins together, Burcon can offer plant protein ingredients with a nutritional value equalling or exceeding that of animal proteins like dairy or egg.

Canola is one of the world’s most important oilseed crops, grown for its highly prized oil, with heart-healthy properties and renowned culinary qualities. Up until now, after pressing the valuable oil from canola, the residual meal has predominantly been sold as animal feed.

Burcon’s 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.

Compared to meat

The method accepted by the U.S. FDA, FAO and WHO for evaluating the nutritional quality of a protein is referred to as the PDCAAS score, or the protein digestibility corrected amino acid score, with the highest possible score being a 1.0.

The protein in cow’s milk and the protein in eggs are examples of proteins with a PDCAAS of 1.0. Peas have a PDCAAS score of less than 0.8, however, Burcon’s blends of pea and canola protein have PDCAAS scores of 1.0, equaling the gold standard of dairy protein.

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