Innovation Meets Sustainability with New Extraction Technology for Canola Meal – Delaney Ross Burtnack (Manitoba Canola Growers)

Delaney Ross Burtnack, Executive Director at the Manitoba Canola Growers Association, will be presenting the talk “Innovation Meets Sustainability with New Extraction Technology for Canola Meal” at the 12th Plant Protein Ingredients Summit to be held in Saskatoon, May 29-31, 2019. She shares her vision on the future of proteins through this interview:


What is your role in the 12th Plant Protein Ingredients Summit, May 29-31 in Saskatoon?

I’ m here to share the exciting technology for a new human protein source from canola. Canola is traditionally known as an oil, and because of the high heat method of oil extraction that has been traditionally used, the resulting plant material or “press cake” has not been considered as a protein source for food. Extraction methods like cold pressing canola seed results in press cake that preserves the protein profile, and making it an ideal substrate for producing food grade protein.

What is exciting for you in this role and what do you think of the program?

Our technology is an example of how research and development investments can pay off with a market-ready product. In exploring what opportunities may lie in the press cake, we discovered that the protein from canola meal can be used in food formats including a ‘canola tofu’. We’ve also developed prototypes that mimic the hardness and elasticity of silken soybean tofu, as well as a shelf stable powder version and a meat mimic – think deep fried nugget.  It is great to have the opportunity to share this technology with an audience focused on the business outcomes as supported by research and development. The event program is a refreshing approach.

What is the role of your organisation can play in the protein transition?

The Manitoba Canola Growers Association specifically focuses on support for canola growers, and finding innovative ways to bring more value to their farms. We seek out researchers, collaborators and leaders to expand the potential for canola growers in the province. There is huge, untapped opportunity here using a simple technology with global intellectual property protection (IPP) to create an entirely new and versatile plant protein product that would connect this currently low value co-stream product to the growing market for plant protein.

How does your ‘moonshot’ regarding the protein transition look like?

I would love to see creative integration of plant and animal proteins to create a variety of new and complete sources of protein, especially if it includes an opportunity to take sources of protein that are currently underutilized or wasted, and find ways to bring value to them. This is an essential aspect of increasing production sustainability, from my perspective – developing technology and processes that encourage “whole product utilization” with increased production value and minimal waste. Canola is among the Canadian crops that has a great story to tell here, with room to innovate and grow its potential.

Who should be on board to achieve this moonshot?

There are so many great discoveries just waiting to be unleashed into commercial use;  we just need to have the right people in the room. Bringing together innovative people who know their products, and creating that environment of “anything goes” collaboration and brainstorming, can lead to incredible finds like this one that may be right there under our noses. It will take events like this one to pull the people and the atmosphere together to generate more and more ideas, with the people who can bring them to market engaged at the table.

What is the one life and or work learning which you picked up from a friend, colleague, family member, boss etc?

You have to be open to others’ ideas and to real, honest feedback if you want to find new ways to do things. It’s not easy to be open-minded, lay your ego aside and really hear what other people suggest. When you do, though, the result is magic. “Listen with the intent to have your mind changed” and you open yourself up to making new connections that may never have been considered.

Delaney Ross Burtnack joined the Manitoba Canola Growers Association in 2017 as Executive Director, also leading the research and advocacy work for the association. Previously, Delaney led the Canadian Association of Agri-Retailers as President & CEO, and worked for nearly 10 years in the agricultural communications industry. She holds her Masters of Science in agronomy from the University of Manitoba.


About the 12th Plant Protein Ingredients Summit

The 12th Plant Protein Ingredients Summit 2019 will focus on:

  • New Plant Protein Ingredients
  • Novel Plant Protein Process Technologies
  • New Plant Protein Applications

Shifting Gears will be more and more important to meet concerns over future food and nutritional security related to protein supply & demand is rapidly rising on the global and European agenda of governments, industries, and agricultural value chains in view of stabilizing crop yields and a fastly growing population.

Growing more plant protein in Canada and North-America is very important from a sustainability, climate and self-sufficiency point of view. The demand for plant protein ingredients is increasing and there are many economic opportunities. Consumers are also seeking more healthy and sustainable diets and they are increasing their plant-based foods intake. And how can we meet the protein needs of 9 billion people in a sustainable, healthy & environmentally friendly way? How can the food industry tap into growing consumer appetites new foods, tastes & plant-based foods? What is the actual potential for plant protein ingredients to move into the mainstream & gain scale to make a larger commercial impact?

Which processing technologies are needed to improve the texture, taste and nutrition of plant protein ingredients? Is there a need for a global protein research agenda? When so, what are the key elements and how can industry and government across the national borders work together. More info

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