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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

School boards in Sylvan Lake announce layoffs due to COVID-19 funding cuts

RDCRS and Chinook’s Edge say the layoffs of bus drivers and educational assistants are temporary

Sylvan Lake man wins STARS Lottery grand prize

The grand prize winners were all from Central Alberta, including Sheldon Mudry from Sylvan Lake

Red Deer County has three new confirmed COVID-19 cases

Government says Alberta up to 1,181 total cases

A message from the publisher

Consider a voluntary subscription to Sylvan Lake News

Judge sides with woman accused of spying for Russia, orders new hearing

Judge sides with woman accused of spying for Russia, orders new hearing

Ont. court upholds murder conviction in death of girl found in burning suitcase

Ont. court upholds murder conviction in death of girl found in burning suitcase

British cancelled, Masters to November in major rescheduling

British cancelled, Masters to November in major rescheduling

NFL going with virtual format for upcoming draft

NFL going with virtual format for upcoming draft

NHL playoff scenarios run the gamut of where, when and how

NHL playoff scenarios run the gamut of where, when and how

Leafs’ Matthews, Marner, Penguins’ Marleau relive start of ageless friendship

Leafs’ Matthews, Marner, Penguins’ Marleau relive start of ageless friendship

Actress-activist Shirley Douglas, daughter of medicare’s Tommy Douglas, dies

Actress-activist Shirley Douglas, daughter of medicare’s Tommy Douglas, dies

Honor Blackman, who played Bond’s Pussy Galore, dies at 94

Honor Blackman, who played Bond’s Pussy Galore, dies at 94

Most Read