Pea-based pants may be next frontier as Lululemon looks at crops for clothes

Lululemon’s pitch focused on using byproducts from pea processing as inputs for new clothing materials

Lululemon Athletica Inc. wants customers to have more pea in their yoga pants.

The athleisure retailer presented the idea at Protein Industries Canada’s (PIC) pitch day Monday in a talk titled: Clothing the World with Crops, according to a photo of a PowerPoint slide.

ALSO READ: Lululemon shares surge after forecast increase, earnings beat expectations

Lululemon’s pitch focused on using byproducts from pea processing as inputs for new clothing materials, said Bill Greuel, chief executive of PIC, a not-for-profit industry association that is one of the federal government’s five supercluster initiatives. Its goal is to create business opportunities, collaborate and invest in projects that could transform Canada’s agriculture and food processing industries, according to its website.

“It’s not far-fetched at all,” he said, pointing to other examples of more sustainable material used for clothing, like bamboo. Many companies, including Patagonia, also already use hemp.

Lululemon declined to comment on the presentation, with spokeswoman Erin Hankinson writing in an email that “we don’t have anything else to share.”

Peder Sande, who delivered the presentation in Calgary, is a consultant for the company.

More than a dozen companies, researchers or other groups gave presentations that lasted about five to seven minutes each during the day.

PIC had put a call out for talks on business challenges, interesting technology platforms, specific research capabilities and other topics, said Greuel.

“All with the idea that, you know, we want to create opportunities for collaborative research out of the discussion.”

Lululemon’s idea would be a “great opportunity” for the industry to utilize some of the byproducts from pea processing, said Greuel.

Consumers are demanding more plant-based protein in their diets. Canada’s new food guide released earlier this year even recommends people “choose protein foods that come from plants more often” and restaurants have scrambled to add vegan options, like Beyond Meat burgers and breakfast patties, to their menus.

That need for plant-based protein is driving the industry today, said Greuel. The popular Beyond Meat burgers, which temporarily sold out after A&W first started selling them, for example, contain pea protein isolate.

When processors extract protein from peas, pea starch and fibre is left behind, he explained.

Those byproducts are currently used to make glass noodles, livestock feed and other products, Greuel said.

“We’re always interested in additional uses and higher-value uses as well.”

Any idea that adds value is a tremendous opportunity for Canadian farmers to diversify their markets and increase farm-gate prices, wrote Allison Ammeter, chairwoman of the plant protein alliance of Alberta, in a statement.

“Value-add can be food products, beauty products, industrial products, perhaps yoga pants? Why not?” wrote Ammeter, who attended the presentation.

The next step is for any interested companies, including Lululemon, to submit a project proposal to PIC, said Greuel, which is due at the end of the month. PIC will then determine within a few months which of those projects it will help fund.

Aleksandra Sagan, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Controversial anti-abortion film to be screened in Penticton

Unplanned will be shown at the Penticton Landmark theatre

House arrest for ‘vicious’ back-alley attack on Penticton man

Thomas Brayden Kruger-Allen was at the Mule Nightclub prior to the assault

Update: Coroner investigating after body recovered from Okanagan Lake

Penticton fire department assisted the RCMP with the recovery of a body Saturday

Backhoe ‘burned to a crisp’ in Okanagan Falls

South Okanagan fire chief said the situation could have been a lot worse

Mix of sun and cloud for the Okanagan-Similkameen Shuswap

Chance of showers for much of the region this afternoon

VIDEO: RCMP release sketch of man found dead near burning truck of missing B.C. teens

RCMP said they are looking for Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, of Port Alberni

Police seek witnesses in fatal motorcycle crash on Highway 3

A 50-year-old Vancouver area man was killed in a motorcycle crash July… Continue reading

Kingfisher reels in kids for North Okanagan fishing event

Enderby centre hosts free, family fun event

Unsealed record suggests U.S. man convicted of murdering Vancouver Island couple left DNA on zip tie in 1987

William Talbott is set to be sentenced Wednesday in the murders of Jay Cook and Tanya Van Cuylenborg

Surrey court clerk files human rights complaint related to concussion

Deborah A. Ryane claims her employer discriminated against her on basis of mental disability

Food fight: Liberals, Tories trade shots as pre-campaign battles intensify

Health Canada released an overhauled document that did away with traditional food groups and portion sizes

Most Read