Canadian gluten-free processors team up to enhance North American capabilities

By Gill Hyslop contact

- Last updated on GMT

Gluten-free oat processor Avena Foods has partnerned with Best Cooking Pulses to extend capabilities in the North American market. Pic: ©GettyImages/piotre_malczk
Gluten-free oat processor Avena Foods has partnerned with Best Cooking Pulses to extend capabilities in the North American market. Pic: ©GettyImages/piotre_malczk

Related tags: Wheat, Cereal

Saskatchewan oat processor Avena Foods and Manitoba pulse mill Best Cooking Pulses (BCP) have formed a partnership to expand capacity to capitalize on the growing gluten-free market in North America.

The companies said the agreement will boost cross-selling and market penetration for both, allowing each to build on existing strengths, while retaining individual ownership.

Portage la Prairie-based Best Cooking Pulses and Regina-based Avena Foods said the partnership will enable leveraging “each brand’s customer base and increase product offerings to existing customers”.

The companies said they will continue operating  individually-owned brands, but new product offerings are planned for the “not too distant future” ​as a result from “shared propriety technology and the expansion of the ‘Purity Protocol’ program into pulses.”

Consistent guarantee

While BCP emphasized it has its own “strong”​ food safety program in place, it does want to take advantage of Avena’s traceability protocol that ensures its oats are consistently below the five-parts-per-million level.

Avena sources oats from a network of over 90 gluten-free growers across Western Canada, which are moved through a “controlled distribution” system and processed at the company’s dedicated gluten- and allergen-free facility in Regina.

This ensures the oats are 100% free from wheat, barley and rye.

“Avena’s Purity Protocol aligns well with Best Cooking Pulses’ commitment to ‘Pulse Ingredients for Healthy Diets and a Sustainable World’”, ​said Trudy Heal, BCP’s president.

Financial terms of the partnership were not disclosed.

Avena was formed in 2008 by pedigreed seed growers to supply certified gluten-free oats to the North American market. Last year, private equity firm Ironbridge Equity Partners bought a major share in the company.

Canadian agrifoods business BCP has been in the pulse trade since 1936, using proprietary technology to split peas, process whole pulses and mill pulse flours and pea hull fibers at its milling plants in Portage la Prairie and Rowatt.

In 2009, BCP signed a distribution deal with organic processor SunOpta to produce pea fibre under the SunOpta brand.

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