It was great to see the Vancouver Sun’s recent feature on local plant-based food companies Gardein and Daiya Foods, but they’re not alone in pioneering alternatives to animal-based products. Here are some of the other Lower Mainland businesses leading the way:
Vega, a fast-growing producer of plant-based nutrition products, was recently acquired by a U.S. food company but will remain Burnaby-based. Vega says its goal is “to provide convenient plant-based products, made from real, whole food ingredients to support your health—without having a negative impact on the planet’s health.”
Left Coast Naturals, which includes the Hippie Foods brand, is also based in Burnaby. Hippie Foods produces a range of plant-based snacks using whole food ingredients. On its blog, the company has stated that “Plant-based diets are no longer just for PETA protesters, hardcore tree huggers or Beyonce. The reality of becoming less reliant on meat and animal-based products is something we’ll all have to face.”
Another Burnaby company, Natera, specializes in hemp protein products (seeds and protein powders). On its website Natera says its products are “Perfect for vegan, paleo or gluten-free diets, hemp contains 35% protein and 45% oil in its dehulled state. That makes it earth’s number-one most digestible plant protein.”
Burcon Nutrascience, headquartered in Vancouver, is developing plant proteins as ingredients for the global food and beverage industry. The company says: “Both animal and plant protein production exert significant pressures on the environment. However, the environmental pressures exerted by meat and animal protein production exceed those of plant and plant protein production many times, in both magnitude and extent of area affected.”
Ergogenics is a Vancouver-based company specializing in whole, plant-based nutrition products. The company says its mission is “to advocate a move towards plant-based nutrition for better health, Environmental Sustainability, and Compassion for Animals.”
The plant-protein industry is growing around the world but it looks like the Lower Mainland is becoming one of its hubs. While some vegetarians and vegans prefer not to rely on processed or convenience foods, these new products may help supplant animal proteins and reduce the need for industrialized animal agriculture – and that’s got to be good news for farm animals.