CALGARY – In a country usually referred to as cattle country, a company wants to offer consumers an alternative to beef.
Lovingly Made Ingredients started production at its 33,000 square meter facility earlier this month and employs 12 people. This is the UK’s Meatless Farm’s first Canadian subsidiary.
“We produce textured proteins based on plants. We’re currently taking yellow pea protein and turning it into a texture that mimics a meat-like product, ”said Chris Shields, general manager of Lovingly Made Ingredients.
The vegetable protein ingredients would then be used in foods like burgers and sausages.
Shields said peas are sourced from producers in Alberta and Saskatchewan. Calgary is an ideal location to build the business.
“Everyone knows beef, but the yellow pea here is huge and why should you export it?”
He said Calgary is also centrally placed for distribution.
“Canadians are still advocating animal proteins but are also looking for other options, including plant-based proteins,” said Sylvain Charlebois, senior director of the Agricultural and Food Analytics Laboratory at Dalhousie University.
Charlebois said last year sales of herbal products in Canada rose about 30 percent. He said people consider their health, the environment and the cost.
He said the new Calgary facility was good news for the agriculture and livestock industry.
“It’s about adding value to the same person,” he said. “One day this person might want to enjoy a nice steak on the grill, the next it could be really vegetable and there is nothing wrong with that.”
According to a 2019 report, Barclays analysts estimate that by 2029 the vegetable meat alternatives market could be worth 10 percent of the $ 1.4 trillion global meat industry.