Canada’s Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Marie-Claude Bibeau, has announced an investment of $1.4 million CAD in plant-based food company Big Mountain Foods.
The female-founded company based in British Columbia makes plant-based whole food products from high quality, local ingredients.
The government support has helped Big Mountain Foods launch the first-ever soy-free tofu made from fava beans into the Canadian and US market, according to the company President Jasmine Byrne.
Byrnes said: “Big Mountain Foods has commissioned a facility in Vancouver, BC that has capacity to produce over 2 million units a year of tofu. The new facility is inclusive of upcycling with a goal to be zero waste.
“The feedback on the tofu has been very positive with recent listings in Whole Foods and many other retailers. We are proud to have developed a tofu product that has similar taste, texture and functionality as traditional soy tofu that is higher in protein.”
The investment is also intended to be used to commercialise another soy-free tofu made from locally grown and milled chickpeas.
Both products meet the needs of consumers who can’t eat soy due to allergy, or who have other special dietary requirements. For example, people who have kidney failure need to keep a low level of phytoestrogen in their blood – a chemical which soy contains in high amounts. People living with hypothyroidism are also advised to avoid eating soy, as the food can prevent iodine from entering the thyroid gland.
Big Mountain Foods has recently launched its Lion’s Mane Mushroom Crumble, made from a blend of lion’s mane, portobello and shiitake mushrooms, and is free of both gluten and soy.
Some of the company’s other products on the market include the Original Veggie Patty, Mushroom Bites, Broccoli Boost Veggie Grounds, and Big Brat Veggie Links. Most are free of common allergens.
The recent funding will also be used to add automated robotic machinery to the company’s production facility to increase the company’s production capacity and efficiency.
The investment comes from the government’s AgriInnovate programme, which supports business projects that are looking to commercialise or implement innovative ideas that could increase competitiveness and sustainability in the agricultural sector.
To be considered for the programme, prospective applicants must be working to either:
- Adopt innovative clean technology, such as precision agriculture
- Implement advanced manufacturing, automation, or robotics to advance productivity
- Boost the country’s value-added agriculture sectors
- Strengthen or develop new export markets
Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food said: “Plant-based foods are growing in popularity as Canadians are increasingly looking for options to incorporate greater variety into their diets.
“Investing in businesses like Big Mountain Foods 2 is establishing Canada’s position as a global leader in this industry, while increasing consumer choice of alternative protein options.”