A Plant-Based Province

Manitoba is becoming a hub for Beyond Meat creation, to the enthusiasm of some pea farmers and the displeasure of some beef farmers.

Nestlé has partnered with Merit Functional Foods and Burcon NutraScience. The latter two companies will supply protein from peas and canola to the food and drink giant.

Merit Functional Foods is building a 94,000-square-foot facility in Winnipeg. The facility is set to open this fall. Burcon NutraScience already has a plant near McGillivray Boulevard.

Manitoba pea farmers can send their goods to the Winnipeg facilities.

Some farmers will ship their peas to a new processing plant in Portage la Prairie. Roquette, a Beyond Meat supplier, is funnelling $400 million into the building. It will be the largest pea processing plant in North America.

“With Roquette building in Manitoba, it gives us a local opportunity to market,” said Ryley Holod, a pea farmer from Balmoral, MB.

Farmers’ yellow peas are one of the key ingredients in Beyond Meat products. Beyond Meat acts as a substitute for meat products like hamburger patties.

Some Manitoban beef farmers say the new facilities will hurt their sales in the province.

“There’s just more challenges that keep facing the beef industry and the plant burgers, or the Beyond Beef burgers, is another one of the challenges that we’re finding out there now,” said Rusty Myskiw, a beef farmer from Warren, MB.
Jeremy Malenchak, a flexitarian, cooks spinach and eggs for breakfast. Malenchak doesn't buy Beyond Meat products, but he said he understands others who do./NICOLE BUFFIE
Winnipegger Jeremy Malenchak doesn’t eat Beyond Meat products. Malenchak is a flexitarian—he’s mainly vegetarian, but he occasionally eats meat.

“I’m a very staunch purist,” Malenchak said. “I don’t like a lot of processing, I don’t like a lot of handling, and I don’t like a lot of… Creation of the food.”

Malenchak said he likes the idea of Beyond Meat, but he prefers to get his protein from non-processed foods.

Manitoba pea and beef farmers give their opinions on the rise of plant-based meat substitutes.
More people are considering non-meat alternatives with more options like Beyond Meat becoming available.