Burcon NutraScience Corporation, developer of plant-based proteins for foods and beverages, has received a co-investment from Proteins Industries Canada for the development of high-quality protein ingredients from sunflower seeds.
The $1 million project will see Burcon partnering with Pristine Gourmet, a processor of 100% pure Canadian non-GMO cold-pressed virgin oils, to further develop Burcon’s novel process for the production of sunflower protein ingredients.
Premium sunflower protein isolate, which contains greater than 90% protein purity, has the potential of setting a new benchmark in the growing plant-based ingredients market. Leveraging the company’s core protein extraction and purification platform, the project intends to fine-tune and scale up an economical extraction and isolation process arising from the by-product (pressed cake) of sunflower oil production.
“Sunflower protein checks all the boxes as an ideal source of plant-based protein,” says Peter H. Kappel, Burcon’s interim CEO and chairman of the board, adding, “With this investment, Burcon and Pristine Gourmet can accelerate the development of value-added premium protein ingredients coming from a by-product normally used as animal feed.”
Protein Industries Canada’s co-investment further supports Canadian innovation in the development of cutting-edge food technologies and patent-pending processes to develop products that are unique in the global plant-based protein marketplace.
“Canada’s plant-based food and ingredients sector has seen tremendous growth over the past several years, thanks largely to the innovation shown by our entrepreneurs and researchers,” Protein Industries Canada CEO Bill Greuel says. “The development of new ingredients, processing technologies and food products is key to seeing this growth continue. As our companies work together to bring these developments from idea to full-scale implementation, Canadians can look forward to a strengthened economy, new healthy and sustainable options on grocery store shelves, and an increased ability to meet the growing global demand for plant-based protein.”
Sunflower protein ingredients are naturally non-GMO, have a favorable taste profile, low allergenicity, are particularly label-friendly, and easily understood and accepted by consumers. As the world’s third largest oilseed crop, behind soy and canola, sunflower seed has significant potential to be a major source of protein within the plant-based food revolution. Sunflower seed proteins produced using this extraction technology exhibit unique and potentially valuable functional characteristics as well as a nutritional profile similar to that of canola protein. Unlocking the potential of protein present in sunflower seed for mainstream food ingredient applications could mean that we would be unlocking vast quantities of novel plant protein worldwide.