Dana McCauley

Consumer appetites for vegetarian food are growing and big food companies are taking notice, says Dana McCauley, one of Canada’s leading food trends experts.

Several food giants recently announced they are investing in plant-based protein products.

McCauley, associate director of new venture creation at the University of Guelph’s Research Innovation Office, told BNN Bloomberg that interest in vegetarian food is not a fad.

McCauley said with aging baby boomers worrying about their health, there is lots of consumer interest in meat alternatives, and big food companies are seeing this trend as an opportunity.

The University of Guelph’s Research Innovation Office helps researchers to commercialize and share their discoveries. McCauley aims to enable Canada’s smartest agri-food researchers to transform their insights into commercial value.

University of Guelph researchers are studying plant-based foods as well.

A team of researchers recently received funding to develop prototypes for plant-based “meat.” Supported by an inaugural international research award worth $330,000 over two years, U of G engineers and food scientists aim to create a plant-based product that will give meat lovers the textures they savour.