It’s no secret that we’re a bit obsessed with protein here in North America. Studies have shown that the average person in “developed” countries consumes an average 103 grams of protein a day, more than double the daily recommended intake, and most of it comes from animal protein. But now more than ever, people are consuming less meat in favor of plant-based options and the rapid growth of the global pea protein market is indicative of that.

Due to concerns about health, sustainability, animal welfare, or allergen issues related to soy and nuts, pea protein has become a huge contender to replace animal protein in the food world. Last year, the global pea protein market was projected to reach 34.8 million dollars by the year 2020. And according to a recent report released by Zion Market Research, it is expected to reach above $39.50 million by 2022 with a compound annual growth rate of eight percent.

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Hollywood director and Canadain native, James Cameron seems to understand the value of pea protein because the legendary filmmaker just recently formed Verdient Foods, Inc., in Saskatchewan, Canada along with his wife and activist, Suzy Amis Cameron. Verdient Foods will help address the growing demand for sustainable, plant-based protein. And how exactly will Verdient Foods do that?

Thanks to a generous investment by the Camerons, Verdient Foods will open up a brand new pea processing plant in Vanscoy, Saskatchewan. Once fully operational, Cameron says the Verdient Foods plant will become the largest organic pea protein facility in North America and will handle 160,000 tons of pea protein to help meet the global demand for plant-based protein.

“In my mind, movies come and go and they’re relatively quickly forgotten, but this is something that’s lasting. This will be a legacy for us, but we also see it as just the start of a bigger vision for the development of food products,” the Avatar filmmaker said about the move. 

Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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Cameron’s food activism is nothing new. He is known for directing blockbuster hits such as Titanic and Avatar (a sequel to Avatar is set to release in 2020) and went vegan in 2012 for environmental reasons. Together with his wife, who is also a prominent environmental activist, Suzy Amis Cameron and entrepreneur Craig McCaw, he founded Plant-Powered Task Force, a foundation that focuses on the role that animal agriculture plays in climate change.

As part of the groundbreaking opening of Verdient Foods, the Camerons have entered a four-year research contract with non-profit, Saskatchewan Food Industry Development Centre, to develop organic food products to be produced by Canadian and global companies using ingredients from the Verdient Foods plant.

According to Nil Zacharias, Co-Founder of One Green Planet, “innovations in the plant-protein space have the power to transform food as we know it and write the story of the future of food.” Simply put, if we hope to feed the growing demand for protein, we need to move ahead into the future of food with more plant-based options like pea protein. Thanks to the Camerons, the future of food is arriving more quickly than expected!

To learn more about the environmental impact of our food choices as well as trends and developments in the plant-based food space, check out our podcast #EatForThePlanet with Nil Zacharias.

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Lead image source: Verdient Foods

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