Merit Brings Disruptive Plant Proteins to Natural Products Expo West

Merit will showcase samples of protein bar and protein powder concepts made with their highly functional Non-GMO pea and canola proteins

ANAHEIM, California (March 2, 2022) – Merit Functional Foods is giving Natural Products Expo West attendees an exclusive opportunity to experience a taste forward, 100% plant-based cookie dough protein bar concept featuring non-GMO pea and canola protein, and high-quality protein-fortified, vegan dark chocolate coating and inclusions.

“As the largest natural and healthy products trade show in the world, Natural Products Expo West is a show that we’ve been waiting for,” Merit Co-CEO Ryan Bracken said. “This will be our first year attending as exhibitors, and we’ve been looking forward to connecting with innovators in person so that we can collaborate to solve formulation challenges and, ultimately, help create the next generation of plant-based products.”

Since it unveiled its pea and canola protein portfolio in 2019, Merit has fully commercialized its product, produced at its 94,000-square foot production facility. Today, the company is proud to deliver more than just novel protein ingredients and solutions-based concepts; it’s also here to bring consistency and reliability back to the supply chain at a time when both are difficult for ingredient suppliers to guarantee.

“It’s no secret that the past two years have created challenges for the industry that none of us could have anticipated,” Bracken said. “With that in mind, we built our company with measures in place to ensure that supply chain and capacity is paramount. As a solutions-based company, we continue to focus on concept innovation, leveraging the high functionality of our ingredients to help solve pain points for plant-based food and beverage manufacturers.”

Merit will be sampling two of those application concepts at the trade show: its vegan dark chocolate dipped cookie dough protein bar and its plant-based ready-to-mix protein powder. Beyond just taste, both concepts exemplify the new opportunities that Merit’s ingredients unlock for formulators.

The protein bar, including the chocolate coating and chunks, is made with Merit’s high purity Peazazz® pea protein and Puratein® C canola protein – boosting the nutritional profile to 20g of protein per serving (supported by a 1.0 PDCAAS), all while delivering a soft texture. This proprietary protein solution offers a unique combination of functional and nutritional capabilities that allows for exceptionally soft plant-based protein bars with a significantly reduced rate of bar firming over time.

“As more consumers gravitate to a plant-based lifestyle, protein bars that deliver on taste, texture and nutrition are important,” Merit’s Vice President of Sales Dustin Cosgrove said. “But that’s an area where plant-based bars are under-delivering: they’re known for chalky mouthfeel, hardening over time, crumbling, unpleasant aftertastes, and more. Merit’s innovative, functional pea and canola proteins solve these challenges, pushing the boundaries of what’s currently possible for plant protein bar formulations.”

By combining Merit’s non-GMO pea and canola proteins, brands can create soft, high-protein bars that deliver a positive consumer experience. Beyond this, Merit’s proteins have high solubility and neutral color and flavor profile that allow them to fit seamlessly into bar formulations without negatively impacting mouthfeel, color, or taste.

Merit is also sampling a ready-to-mix (RTM) protein powder made with Peazazz® pea protein and Puratein® C canola protein. Offering a PDCAAS of 1.0 and 20g of plant protein per 26g serving of RTM powder, this protein powder concept has superb solubility that enables it to solve the mouthfeel hurdles that often drive plant-based powders to rely on gums and thickeners.

“This innovation enables RTM powder formulators to maintain clean labels in their plant-based products while also improving nutritional value,” Cosgrove said. “It’s a game-changer for protein powder formulation.”

Beyond the product concepts shown at the event, Merit’s ingredients are helping formulators overcome challenges in a number of plant-based categories, from bakery to meat alternatives to dairy alternatives like yogurt, cheese, cream cheese, ice cream, milk, and more.

Merit is excited to meet with protein bar, supplement, beverage, functional food, and sports nutrition brands at the show looking for higher quality plant protein options to propel their innovation in 2022 and beyond.

This year’s Natural Products Expo West show is March 10-12 in Anaheim, and Merit is in Hall B, booth 1492.

About Merit Functional Foods

Established in 2019, Merit Functional Foods is a Canadian company committed to exceeding expectations for plant-based protein, providing the market with the highest quality protein ingredients and blends that offer unmatched purity, exceptional taste, and excellent solubility. Merit has built a 94,000 square foot state-of-the-art production facility in Winnipeg, where it produces a portfolio of non-GMO pea and canola protein ingredients with exceptional functional and nutritional values. For more information, visit

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