Nestlé has entered into a joint collaboration with Merit Functional Foods and its technology partner Burcon NutraScience to utilize their plant-based proteins. The partnership will enable Nestlé to develop and commercialize the plant-based proteins for use in its food and beverage applications including meat and dairy alternatives.

According to the companies, the agreement combines Nestlé’s expertise in the development, production and commercialization of plant-based products with Burcon’s proprietary plant protein extraction and purification technology and Merit’s protein production capabilities.

Merit is currently building its commercial-scale production facility, which is expected to be completed by the fourth quarter of 2020, while Burcon has been developing its plant-based protein technology for more than 19 years for the the application and manufacturing of proteins derived from pea, canola, soy and hemp.

“Developing nutritious and great-tasting plant-based meat and dairy alternatives requires access to tasty, nutritious and sustainable raw materials as well as proprietary manufacturing technology,” said Stefan Palzer, Nestlé chief technology officer.

The joint collaboration will commence a long-term relationship between the parties covering the future supply of plant-based proteins produced in Merit’s commercial-scale facility using Burcon’s technology.

Nestlé said it has roughly 300 R&D staff located in eight centers that are dedicated to the research and development of plant-based products.

Earlier this month, the food and beverage giant announced the launch of plant-based sausages in the U.S. and Europe with its Garden Gourmet and Sweet Earth Foods brands. Its plant-based range also includes pea-, soy- and wheat-based burger patties, mince, chicken fillets and other prepared dishes...

Nestlé has also developed pea and oat-based dairy alternatives, almond-, coconut- and oat-based creamers, plant-based coffee mixes as well as a range of non-dairy ice creams.