First Canadian soy isolates proving popular

By Dominique Patton

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Soy protein

Canada's first soy protein isolate processor, Oleanergie F2001, is
seeing unprecedented demand for its organic range of isolates and

The company that started production in August this year and is now selling 10 metric tons per month says it cannot meet demand.

"All the product we produce has already been sold,"​ said Jean Flibotte, president and managing director of the firm.

He told that the firm will ramp up capacity to 40 tons a month from March next year.

Soy protein isolates, containing a minimum 90 per cent protein, are traditionally used in health foods and meat replacement products but are increasingly added to mainstream foods.

The soy protein ingredients market is dominated by a couple of leading US soy processors, with Israeli firm Solbar a significant number three. But Oleanergie says it can benefit from more efficient traceability in the small Canadian sector.

The company received an innovation award from the government earlier this week for its unique production process that avoids the use of hexane and is therefore more environmentally friendly.

Developed in collaboration with scientists at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's Food Research and Development Centre in St-Hyacinthe, it was the result of a major initiative launched in 2002 to boost Canada's small soy industry.

The country will have 3 million acres of soy this year, the size of a couple of counties in the US, according to Lucas Thacker, director of the Soy 20/20 project.

But it is trying to focus on niche, value-added markets to increase revenue from the crop. Many of these benefit from the small harvest's efficient traceability.

"We are able to track the bean from the field to the production plant because we're a smaller player,"​ said Thacker.

Sales of organic foods are growing fast in the US. Organic baby food has jumped nearly 18 per cent in 2005 on 2004, according to ACNeilsen figures.

"Many of our new ingredients also have improved functionality in food,"​ he added, pointing to new wholegrain soy flours being made in Canada.

The country does not yet have a health claim for soy but Soyfoods Canada is working on achieving this by 2007, said Thacker. This will give the sector further value.

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