Canada: The Globe's Next Meatless Protein Superpower

In the last few decades, Canada has become renowned for its robust gas and petroleum industry, equitable healthcare, and world-leading artificial intelligence research, and now you can add its burgeoning plant-based meat industry to the list.

Retail sales of plant-based meats were C$231 million in 2019 and are expected to be C$301 million this year. In this trajectory, the world's alternative meat market will grow to C$180 billion in the next 15 years, and Canada could get 10% of the global market share.

Learn what’s causing the considerable growth of meatless protein production in Canada.

1. Canadian companies are spearheading the meat alternative movement

A great number of innovative companies in the country are pushing the envelope by creating ingenious plant-based meat products. 

The Very Good Butchers, for instance, develops, produces, and distributes plant-based meats. You can get plant-based beef, burgers, chicken breasts, cheese, and sausages from their assortment of products.

Similarly, Gardein Protein International Inc furnishes you with luscious plant-based meat alternatives for pork, beef, chicken, and seafood. You also get their vegan version of an Eggs Benedict.

Big Mountain Food Company supplies you with myriad plant-based creations, including sausage links, burger alternatives, veggie crumbles, and soy-free tofu breakfast bites rich in flavour and nutrients.

Modern Plant-Based Foods is another exciting company offering you meat alternatives alongside plant-based soups and candies.

At Save Da Sea, you’ll enjoy plant-based smoked salmon with a smooth silk texture, bright colour, smoky flavour, and fresh taste. The company has created various plant-based seafood products to offer a healthier and environmentally friendly alternative.

These, and other companies, like Fresh Prep and Lumi Foods, place Canada at the heart of global plant-based alternative food production. Consequently, the increased investment in the plant-based meat industry means food scientists and engineers will be in high demand. 

2. Canadians – and Everyone Else – Want Meat Alternatives

A recent study shows that 53% of Canadians consume plant-based meat. They find meat alternatives healthier than actual meat for several reasons.

Plant-based proteins are rich in antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins for a healthy body. Moreover, meat alternatives help you manage weight and diabetes while offering beneficial microbiomes that improve gut health.

Since red and processed meats have carcinogens that increase your cancer risk, plant-based meats eschew the problem while giving the same taste experience.

Meat alternatives also assist with preventing cardiovascular disease, which affects 2.6 million Canadian adults, and hypertension, which affects 25% of the same demographic.

But this revolution isn’t just happening in Canada. About 10% of American adults consider themselves a vegetarian or vegan. Another survey found that 50% of people in Italy and Spain, 41% in Germany, and 27% in France eat plant-based meat monthly.

Canadians and the rest of the world are also concerned about the environmental impacts of eating meat. 

Why, you ask? 

Production of beef needs more resources, results in greenhouse gas emissions, and promotes pollution and deforestation than the production of plant-based proteins. However, research shows that vegan, vegetarian, and pescatarian diets could decrease greenhouse gas emissions by up to 80%. 

Yes, you read that right.

So, the next time you think about that juicy, meaty burger – with actual meat – consider global warming before placing your order.

Canada's plant-based meat industry is growing!


3. Access to Skilled Labor

Researchers and food scientists in Canada’s plant-based meat industry are performing magic spells in their laboratories. They don’t aim to merely replace meat; they’re creating products that mimic its smell, appearance, texture, and taste.

In grocery stores and restaurants in Canada and other parts of the world, you’ll find plant-based burgers, nuggets, ground meat, seafood, and sausages that smell and taste like their animal counterparts.

Such a high standard is most challenging to achieve, given that Beyond Meat spent over six years developing the Beyond Burger. And even after the release, their multidisciplinary team has reformulated the burger thrice.

So, how do Canada's food scientists achieve such a feat? 

Companies use soy leghemoglobin, pomegranate powder, and beet extract to copy the red colour of rare or fresh beef. They also replace animal fat with coconut, canola, and sunflower oils to give plant-based meat its juiciness and flavour.

However, skilled labour isn’t just found in the laboratory. Canada has millions of skilled workers working in farms and factories where plant proteins are grown and processed, respectively. 

Quality assurance managers enhance the quality of plant-based foods that consumers expect, while food safety supervisors ensure safety standards are up to par with those set by Health Canada.

What’s more, Canada’s engineers help maintain and repair machinery and equipment, and supply chain managers assist with resource acquisition.


4. Saskatchewan’s Ideal Positioning

The prairies of Saskatchewan make up 40% of Canada's arable land, making the province the country's breadbasket. It produces most of Canada's plant protein sources like wheat, canola, peas, lentils, flax, and oats.

The region is also the world's top exporter of lentils and peas.

Saskatchewan's climate is perfect for pulses' growth since it has cool, long frost-free days.

Over and above that, the province has one of the lowest corporate income tax rates for manufacturers and processors in Canada. Even better, it gives a 15% tax credit on capital investments for value-added agricultural facilities in the region.

The excellent climate and the friendly economic atmosphere contribute to the dazzling production of plant proteins that are the meat and potatoes of the country's plant-based protein industry.


Impact on the Recruitment Sector

With new companies setting up shop in Canada to take advantage of its plant protein sources, skilled labour, advanced food technology, and consumer market, the competition for top talent is rising. For instance, British-owned Meatless Farm opened a Canadian facility in 2021, employing 12 employees.

There are new job openings for technical personnel in the food and beverage manufacturing industry every day, and there is no better place to view and apply for them than on the QTalent platform.

If you’re a mad food scientist, work with preservatives, or have a few skills in meatless protein production use QTalent to find the best jobs closest to you without editing your resume each time. Good hunting!

Brittany Brooks


Brittany Brooks has worked in Human Resources as an HR specialist and manager for 10 years. After that time, she decided to use her powers for the good of the workplace. She uses her first-hand experiences in her writing to give employees and business owners an honest look into what’s happening at work.

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