The partnership will leverage the combined strengths of Lumi Foods, Winecrush Technology, and Save-On-Foods to develop new plant-based cheese products, as well as give them more prominent placement in grocery stores across the country.
The initiative will take advantage of Lumi Foods’ cultured cheesemaking methods to create a new line of plant-based cheeses made from Canadian-grown crops, including oats, legumes, and pulses.
A press release notes their development will enhance the labelling and ingredient use of plant-based cheese products within Canada. Most plant-based cheeses are currently made from ingredients sourced outside of Canada.
Once developed, the plant-based cheese products will be sold in Save-On-Foods locations across Canada. They will test shelf-extending ingredients in the recipes, including dietary fibre and unsaturated fatty acids, to help ensure the plant-based cheeses are shelf-stable for a longer time.
“This new project truly showcases the innovation happening right now in Canada. With this innovation, we will be able to provide locally made food options for Canadians looking for dairy-free options or who follow a plant-based diet. The Protein Industries Supercluster’s investment in this project will assure us that we are producing the next generation of plant-based cheese, here in Canada,” said François-Philippe Champagne, minister of innovation, science, and industry.
In addition to expanding this line of cheeses, the partners are also dedicated to strengthening Canada’s plant-based cheese sector as a whole. To help make this happen, they will work with the University of Alberta to perform complimentary research, focused on identifying strains of microbes that can be specialized for plant-based cheesemaking and will improve the flavour, structure, and aroma of plant-based cheeses, meeting consumer demand for products that are healthy and sustainable while also tasting delicious.
The partners have together invested $5.4 million into the project, with PIC investing an additional $5.4 million. The total project co-investment is $10.8 million.