As we start a new year, we want to take this opportunity to reflect on our achievements throughout 2021 and acknowledge how far we’ve come in such a short time. From the completion of our commissioning phase to the development of numerous innovative plant-based concepts – we have so much to celebrate!
COMMERCIAL-READY: In November, we formally announced that our new 94,000 square-foot facility in Winnipeg, Manitoba, was fully scaled to supply leading food and beverage customers with the highest purity pea and canola proteins available for use in plant-based applications. With commissioning and optimization complete, we can ensure that ample supply of pea and canola protein is locked-in to fulfill the growing demand for plant-based brands.
CERTIFICATIONS: We built our new facility with the utmost quality and food safety measures in mind, which led to our successful achievement of an AA score with the British Retail Consortium Global Food Safety Certification (BRCGS) earlier this year. In addition, all our ingredients are Non-GMO Project Verified, Gluten Free certified, Kosher, and Halal, helping brands deliver label claims that align with consumers’ allergen and lifestyle-related needs.
TRADE SHOWS: After commencing production in our state-of-the-art facility earlier in the year, we used our first major live trade show since 2019, SupplySide West, to introduce our portfolio of the highest purity non-GMO pea and canola proteins. We also made our first overseas trade show appearance at the Food Ingredients Europe show. Our team was happy to get back to representing Merit at in-person trade shows where we demonstrated our new plant-based protein bar and RTM protein powder concepts, both featuring a PDCAAS of 1.0. On-site sampling allowed attendees to truly experience how we can help unlock better plant-based products, with better plant protein – because the taste and texture of the concepts spoke for themselves.
APPLICATION CONCEPTS: Throughout 2021, our R&D team was busy developing our inventory of innovative plant-based food and beverage concepts, leveraging the high functionality of our pea and canola protein ingredients. We currently have 13 formulas that deliver superior taste, texture, and nutrition, but two concepts have been receiving some well-deserved attention – our plant-based protein bar and ready-to-mix protein powder concepts, both made with Peazazz® pea protein and Puratein® C canola protein.
Our protein bar concept offers 20g of plant protein per 60g serving and leverages the high oil binding capacity and low water binding capacity of our Puratein® C which has been shown to significantly reduce the rate of firming over time in protein bars. Our ready-to-mix concept provides 20g of plant protein per 26g of RTM powder with less than 5g of sugar per serving. Both concepts achieve a PDCAAS of 1.0 (reference pattern used is for 2-5 year [FAO/WHO 1991])—while delivering a pleasing sensory experience for consumers.
Our R&D team also focused on concept development in the dairy alternative category, with formulas for plant-based cheese, cream cheese, milk, frozen dessert, and yogurt. Other exciting applications we have been working on include plant-based mayo, egg-free cookies, vegan pancake mix, and marshmallows, all of which the Merit team has happily sampled and can attest to their delicious taste and superior texture!
WEBSITE FUN: In fall, we launched new content on our website, adding more opportunities for visitors to engage with us. These site enhancements include the addition of our Applications pages where we house our concepts made with Merit protein ingredients and corresponding sell sheets.
The launch of our News & Insights page allows us to share blog posts (like this one!), press releases, videos, research, and event information. Additionally, we now have a dedicated page for information about becoming a grower with Merit, and the ever-useful FAQ page.
In the new year, we plan to launch a robust online product selection tool which will allow customers to determine the right plant protein ingredient for specific applications or functionality. Stay tuned!
BRAND VIDEO: We’re Merit, and we’re here to redefine plant protein – that’s the message we shared in the exciting new brand video we launched in fall. The video provides a glimpse inside our state-of-the-art production facility, including footage of our lab, office, production floor, and warehouse, and helps tell the story of why Merit exists and how we are uprooting the perception of plant protein.
PASSIONATE TEAM: Less than a year after we opened our facility, our team has doubled in size. We are 108 strong and growing. We can proudly say that we’ve hand-selected a team of industry leaders and experts who are committed to doing plant protein better – high quality, consistent supply, increased functionality, and customized solutions are what we know the market needs, and our team is motivated and excited to deliver!
2022 is gearing up to be just as eventful as 2021! With Natural Products Expo West coming up in March, more delicious food and beverage concepts in the works, exciting new tools that will help our customers unlock better plant-based products, and much more!