Canola protein will emerge as strong contender in plant-based protein market by 2025, says FutureBridge

FutureBridge’s latest techno-commercial analysis of the alternative proteins landscape has revealed a promising outlook for canola protein. According to FutureBridge, it is slated for adoption across multiple food & beverage categories over the next five years, displacing soy’s position.

“The meal by-product of rapeseed oil production may present new opportunities for plant-based protein,” said Sarah Browner, senior analyst at FutureBridge. “We highlighted canola protein as one of our Top 5 Trends of 2021 because we believe its increasing market availability will drive high interest in this alternative protein.”

In this analysis, FutureBridge benchmarked all plant-based proteins, both established and novel, using twelve parameters, including price, functionality, sustainability, and technology maturity. Canola protein emerged as a strong contender scoring the same or higher than soy protein in seven of these. This number is expected to increase once we start to see the utilisation of canola meal beyond its current primary use in the animal feed market.

From a nutritional perspective, canola has an attractive amino acid profile, with a PDCAAS score of 1, a good DIAAS (protein quality and digestibility) score due to its high solubility and bioavailability, and functional properties similar to egg protein.

The road to canola protein commercialisation has been a long one, with some bumps – like Canadian firm BioExx’s bankruptcy in 2013 –  along the way. Recent market developments include US-based Bunge’s $22.8 million investment in Merit Functional Foods and DSM’s collaboration with Avril Group. These two groups alone are forecasting commercial processing capacities approaching 100,000 tonnes per year of raw materials each within this decade.

FutureBridge’s analysis also highlighted key start-ups vying to compete globally, including Poland-based NapiFeryn Biotech and Finnish group Apetit, which has developed the novel ingredient BlackGrain from yellow fields.

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