A partnership between plant-based protein company Burcon NutraScience and cold-pressed virgin oil processor Pristine Gourmet is set to develop protein ingredients from sunflowerseed, with co-investment from Protein Industries Canada.

Sunflower’s neutral colour and taste, along with its lack of allergens, made it ideal for the development of new plant-based ingredients, according to Protein Industries Canada’s 26 April statement.

“This… project will pave the way for broader use of sunflowers in plant-based foods,” François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, said.

Canadian sunflower protein was currently used mainly in livestock feed and pet food, Protein Industries Canada said.

The US$973,000 project investment – of which Protein Industries Canada contributed US$250,000 and the partners contributed the remainder – will involve Burcon and Pristine Gourmet evaluating protein extraction techniques and processes, measuring the protein differences between different sunflower meals, testing sunflower protein samples in food applications, and scaling up the preferred processing method into a pilot plant.

Burcon NutraScience develops plant-based proteins for food and drinks and its patent portfolio includes products derived from canola, hemp, pea, soya and sunflowerseeds, among other plant sources.

Pristine Gourmet is a brand under the umbrella of integrated food company Presell Fine Foods. Persil Fine Foods’ focus is on adding value to canola, pumpkin, soyabean and sunflowerseeds through cold-press technology.