A B.C. plant-based food producer is receiving more than $1.4 million in federal funding to increase production capacity and efficiency at its Delta facility.
On Thursday (July 7), Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Marie-Claude Bibeau announced Big Mountain Foods 2 Ltd. would be receiving the investment under the government’s AgriInnovate Program, which “provides repayable contributions for projects that aim to accelerate the commercialization, adoption and/or demonstration of innovative products, technologies, processes or services that increase agri-sector competitiveness and sustainability,” according to a press release.
The release notes that as people around the world start consuming more plant-based products, farmers and processors have an opportunity to bring together Canadian crops and innovation to help the sector reach new international markets.
“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,” Bibeau said in a press release.
Big Mountain Foods 2, a women-owned-and-operated company that manufactures plant-based foods focused on using local ingredients to sustainably produce alternative protein whole foods, plans to use the funding to increase production capacity and efficiency by adding custom, fully-automated robotic equipment to the facility.
The changes will help commercialize a plant-based, soy-free tofu product made from 100-per-cent Canadian grown and milled chickpeas, helping meet the needs of consumers with allergies to soy and/or other special dietary needs.
“With the help of the AgriInnovate Program, we have been able to launch the first-ever Fava Bean Tofu free of all common allergens into the Canadian and U.S.A. market,” Big Mountain Foods 2 Ltd. president Jasmine Byrne said in a press release.
The company has commissioned a facility in Vancouver that has capacity to produce over two 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,” Byrne said.
Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion and Delta MP Carla Qualtrough, who toured Big Mountain Foods 2’s facility on July 7 to coincide with the funding announcement, congratulated the company on the contribution its making to the Delta community and to the plant-based sector in Canada.
“Innovative agriculture is the way of the future,” Qualtrough said in a press release. “Our government is proud to invest in businesses that meet consumer demands, while keeping our industries sustainable and competitive for future generations.”
Great to meet the team behind Big Mountain Foods in #DeltaBC. Our gov’t invested in this company because they’re making in-demand, sustainable products that will make Canada more competitive in the growing plant-based market. https://t.co/SspVCgCRbX pic.twitter.com/qIn6vdhmh1— Carla Qualtrough (@CQualtro) July 11, 2022