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Partnership creates value-added opportunity in Sask.

By Daniel Jungwirth

November 18, 2020

Instead of farm to fork, it’s field to glass with a partnership turning a Saskatchewan crop into a new beverage.

Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL) announced today that it’s partnering with Regina-based Mera Food Group to produce the new Co-op Gold Pure Oat Beverage, which is expected to hit Co-op Food Store shelves across Western Canada next year.

“Co-op is unique in its ability to be involved throughout the food-production cycle, from supporting our farm customers growing their crops to putting a finished product on store shelves,” said Ron Healey, FCL’s Vice-President of Ag and Consumer Business.

“This partnership with Mera Food Group not only provides Co-op customers with an innovative new plant-based protein product, it also supports our objective to build our communities and the Western Canadian economy.”

The oats will be primarily sourced from a Co-op farm customer who participates in our Grown With Purpose Program. Through this program, we work with growers to build a plan for sustainable crop production practices that are mindful of air, water and soil quality.

The development of the oat-based beverage is part of the first phase of a project organized by Mera Food Group, Mera Developments and Benson Farms to use locally produced commodities – including oats, lentils, hemp, faba beans and chickpeas – to develop milks and other consumer products.

These partners are investing $3.6 million, with Protein Industries Canada investing a further $3.6 million, into the project. It will build additional capacity for other agri-food businesses and add a new co-packaging machine into the Saskatchewan Food Industry Development Centre.

“Mera Food is excited to continue our research and development and commercialization of hydrodynamic cavitation technology for processing vegetable protein,” said Mera Food Group President Wayne Goranson.

“Working in the Food Centre with our partners at Protein Industries Canada and FCL, we look forward to the development of several new value-added food products from commodities produced and now processed in the Prairies.”

Read the full funding announcement from Protein Industries Canada. To learn about more Co-op brand products that are raised, grown and produced locally, visit www.food.crs/local.