Research on Wagyu-style beef alternatives start at UBC
Nov. 8, 2021 – As Protein Industries Canada and its industry partners invest $7.6 million to produce made-in-Canada meat alternatives, students in Land and Food Systems (LFS) at UBC will have the opportunity to receive advanced training in making plant-based proteins, which are the foundation to these innovative food products.
The Faculty of Land and Food Systems has secured a new research contract with Wamame Foods Inc., as part of a co-investment with Protein Industries Canada, and along with the Saskatchewan Food Industry Development Centre (SFIDC), will conduct research to support the national consortium as it begins to produce and commercialize high-end pork and Wagyu beef alternatives. UBC and SFIDC will develop food technologies to ensure a high quality product that minimizes processing and nutrient loss, while adhering to sustainable and environmentally friendly practices. In addition, UBC students will use the university’s sensory lab to evaluate texture, taste, and other sensory measures to ensure that the new products are organoleptically acceptable to consumers.
Assistant Professor Anubhav Pratap-Singh will lead the UBC research along with his students in the food process engineering lab. Dr. Pratap-Singh holds the Food and Beverage Innovation Professorship at UBC, and for the past two years, he has worked closely with B.C. companies in developing innovative food and beverage products.
“Demand for plant-based meat alternatives is rising among consumers who are becoming health and environmentally conscious,” says Dr. Pratap-Singh. “In response, the B.C. food industry is leading the world in plant-based food innovations.”
“At UBC, we are listening to these needs for innovation and working with B.C.-based companies to create new product innovations sustainably, and to improve the competitiveness of B.C. products on the world stage.”
Recent projects from Dr. Pratap-Singh’s lab include improving the taste of plant-based protein products; upcycling food by-products into new foods or sustainable packaging; developing encapsulating methods to better deliver nutrients to the body; and, alternative non-thermal processing innovations to ensure food safety and quality.
Protein Industries Canada (PIC) is an industry-led, not-for-profit organization committed to positioning Canada as a global source of high-quality plant-based food and ingredients. Together with industry, Protein Industries Canada has committed more than $377 million to the Canadian plant-protein sector.
As primary funder of this project, PIC will work with consortium partners Wamame Foods (consortium lead), Merit Functional Foods, Wismettac Asian Foods and Winecrush Technologies to source Canadian ingredients and produce non-soy pork and beef alternatives for sale internationally.