Plant-based meat alternatives are one of the fastest growing segments in the global agricultural market, and Alberta is well-positioned to meet that surging demand with its supply of canola, wheat, and pulses. But in order to make the most of that opportunity, we’ll have to push our agri-business industry further and faster than it’s ever been pushed before. That will mean growing our food processing capabilities, diversifying our agrifood value chain, accelerating adoption of new technologies, and developing a so-called “supercluster” of agricultural sector businesses, researchers, and innovators.
This kind of multi-stakeholder collaboration is already underway on a national scale, and many Alberta-based organizations are involved and engaged. But Alberta can bring together an even broader array of organizations, government agencies, academic institutions and innovation investors, all in the pursuit of new markets and more market share.
One way to enable this dynamic is to create so-called “pre-permitted investment zones” in rural parts of the province, which would make it easier for companies to iterate and innovate without having to wait on regulators or government officials for permission. By pre-permitting activity that would expand and enhance the province’s agri-business sector, and particularly its plant-based protein potential, Alberta could attract new capital and companies — and add even more value to the province’s agricultural resources.