Protein Industries Canada (PIC) has launched a bilateral partnership with Innovate UK a research institution that focuses on the development of the plant-based food sector in the UK.

PIC's CEO Bill Gruel says what's interesting about Innovate UK and the UK ecosystem is that they don't have a lot of ingredient manufacturing and crop production on a scale that we have here in Canada. 

"What we've done is launched a $20 million co-investment program with Innovate UK. We're putting our ingredient manufacturers and technology companies together in innovative projects with UK-based food manufacturers. So that the UK food manufacturers can learn how to use the ingredients that we produce, and our ingredient manufacturers can develop new supply chain agreements and offtake agreements with food companies in the UK."

He says as a result our ingredient manufacturers get new markets and food companies in the UK have access to some of the most sustainable nutritious and unique ingredients in the world.

Dr Katrina Hayter is the executive director for Healthy Living and Agriculture Domain at Innovate UK.

She says their vision is to enable people to live longer, healthier lives and we can achieve this by transforming our food system into one that is more productive, sustainable and resilient.

"Having the opportunity to learn and collaborate with counterparts in Canada is vital for ensuring that technology, practices and sustainability benefits continue to develop, and this partnership represents a landmark moment in bringing the expertise of both nations together in the plant-based foods space. We look forward to supporting new connections and collaborations as the partnership develops, to drive the development and adoption of new technologies across the sector, and enabling the transition to net zero food systems."

Gruel says companies interested in learning more about the program should contact Protein Industries Canada.

"We'll talk to them a little bit about the technology that they have to offer and maybe the products that they have. We'll work directly with the UK to find some companies on the other side that might be a good fit, and will actually work together with Protein Industries Canada, the Canadian company, the UK company, Innovate UK to try and create a collaborative innovation project that utilizes the ingredients of Canada to develop new food products for the UK market."

Gruel is in the UK this week with a contingent of seven Canadian companies to attend Future Food Tech and tour food innovation centers.