The conference showcased Canada’s ability to meet the growing global protein demand.
By Andrew Joseph, Farms.com
The first ever Plant Forward event took place November 1-2, 2022, in Toronto to showcase to global leaders in the plant-based food and ingredients sector, the strength of Canada as a supplier of plant-based ingredients.
Organized by Protein Industries Canada, Pulse Canada, and Plant-Based Foods of Canada, the Plant Forward conference focused on innovation meeting the ever-evolving expectations of consumers.
“One of Canada’s best-kept secrets is our strength in plant-based ingredients and food. Plant Forward vaulted Canada onto the international stage - showcasing our strength and commitment to innovation,” stated Bill Gruel, the Chief Executive Officer of Protein Industries Canada. “To attract leaders from around the world to Canada is a testament to the respect—and promise—Canada offers to the world in the reliable supply of healthy and nutritious plant-based foods and ingredients.”
Global it was. The conference welcomed 250 delegates from 11 countries and was highlighted by the attendance of leaders in plant-based foods such as American environmentalist, model, and actress Suzy Amis Cameron, Murad Al-Katib the President and Chief Executive Officer of AGT Food and Ingredients Inc. (Canada), Dan Magliocco the President and Chief Executive Officer of Danone Canada, and Adam Grogan the President at Greenleaf Foods SPC—one of the largest, plant-based CPG (consumer packaged goods) companies in North America.
Plant Forward showcased Canada’s strengths in plant-based food, feed, and ingredients from the primary production of high-protein crops such as peas and lentils. It also displayed the country’s integrated supply chain that allows ingredient processing to happen near production, reducing food miles, and improving sustainability.
Other highlights included the importance of collaboration among ecosystem players to emphasize the role plant-based food can play in improving the health and nutrition of food products through collaboration with those in the bakery, meat, dairy, and beverage sectors.
“Canada has worked hard to develop a global reputation for producing healthy, sustainable pulses, and pulse ingredients,” related Greg Cherewyk the President of Pulse Canada. “Plant Forward brought together industry leaders from around the world to showcase the Canadian advantage, helping to encourage more investment and boost the profitability of our sector right back through to the farm gate.”
With hundreds of millions of dollars invested within the Canadian processing infrastructure over the past five years, the country has seen explosive growth in plant-based foods and ingredients, helping position the nation as a global leader in ingredient manufacturing.
Food processors are now working to incorporate those ingredients into new plant-based food products helping meet the growing global consumer demand.
“At Plant Forward, we saw on display the very best of Canadian ingenuity and climate-focused thinking,” said Leslie Ewing, the Executive Director of Plant-Based Foods of Canada. “Canadian plant-based food companies showed how they are bringing innovation to bear in every part of our modern food supply. We heard that when we find ways to work together and integrate our efforts, this fast-growing industry will deliver an even greater impact for Canada and the world.”
It is expected that the plant-based food sector will contribute $25 billion annually to Canada’s economy by 2035 supported by 17,000 jobs. Since the creation of Protein Industries Canada in 2017, nearly half a billion dollars has been invested into accelerating innovation in Canada’s plant-based food and ingredient sector.
For more information on Protein Industries Canada, see www.proteinindustriescanada.ca.