The Canadian plant-based food and ingredients sector is continually evolving as it grows to meet the increasing global demand for protein.
To ensure that this evolution is matched by a modern and supportive regulatory system, Protein Industries Canada is partnering with Pulse Canada, Plant-Based Foods of Canada, and Loblaw to examine Canadian regulations related to the plant-based foods and ingredients sector to support regulatory modernization.
Using consumer surveys, lab experiments, and regulatory experiments, the partners will engage with the government to prioritize consumer health and safety while addressing knowledge gaps to help inform regulatory modernization in the following four areas:
- Protein labelling claims (e.g. determining whether a food is considered a “good source of protein”)
- Naming conventions around plant-based foods (e.g., how and when companies can use words such as “plant-based cheese,” “sausage”, or “patties”)
- Discretionary fortification of simulated plant-based meat and poultry products on nutrient intake
- Development of in vitro methods to evaluate protein digestibility
“As more Canadians become interested in what’s in the food they eat, it’s important that food labels and nutrition information be easy to understand,” explained the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. “This partnership will support the modernization of regulations regarding labelling and naming, as well as provide companies with insight on how they can market their products using language consumers will recognize.”
In addition to their direct work on regulations, the partners will establish a virtual Regulatory Centre of Excellence, creating a central point of contact for businesses in the sector looking for information about regulations affecting their operations. This Centre will conduct activities such as providing resources and funding to SMEs seeking regulatory approvals, investing in studies directed toward regulatory change, and creating a repository of regulatory knowledge and experience.
“Canada has, deservedly, a strong and positive reputation for our high-quality food health and safety standards, thanks in large part to our regulatory system. With the support of modernized regulations, businesses across Canada’s plant-based products sector can better take hold of the opportunity ahead of them,” Protein Industries Canada CEO Bill Greuel said.
The combination of modernizing regulations and establishing the Regulatory Centre of Excellence will help companies across Canada’s plant-based foods and ingredients sector compete in the global market, says a news release. Additionally, clearer labels and nutrition information will help consumers better understand what’s in their food and the health and sustainability benefits that accompany it.
“At Plant-Based Foods of Canada we understand the need to balance health and safety with contemporary eating patterns,” says Leslie Ewing, Executive Director Plant-Based Foods of Canada. “The current legislative requirements impacting plant-based foods however are outdated, and have not kept pace with innovation, technology, consumer demands and a global marketplace. With modernized regulations, that support innovation and growth within the category, the industry can bring more choice for Canadians.”
This is Protein Industries Canada’s 38th project announcement, and the 11th under their capacity building stream. A total of $1.6 million is being invested into the project; together with industry, Protein Industries Canada has committed more than $451 million to Canada’s plant-based food, feed, and ingredients ecosystem.
Meanwhile, Protein Industries Canada, Pulse Canada, and Plant-Based Foods of Canada are launching the inaugural Plant Forward conference in Toronto this November.