One of the big projects on the drawing board for Saskatchewan got a boost this week. Red Leaf is a B.C.-based firm looking to convert wheat straw into useable pulp-based products.
This is not the first time a start-up has looked at accessing the fibre in Saskatchewan farm fields for alternate uses but proponents have found it difficult to secure markets for the output.
Well, Red Leaf has announced a deal with a significant food industry player. Dart is a substantial American firm with more than 13,000 employees and is best known for its red SOLO cups. Dart has taken an equity position in Red Leaf which plans a half billion-dollar plant on Regina’s west side.
The deal adds to Red Leaf’s credibility and is viewed by observers as a vote of confidence in the concept and the proponent.
Just as several players are expanding the canola crushing capacity in Saskatchewan, this also signals another step in the province’s journey to build a value-added sector – finding new uses for our traditional crops or selling ingredients rather than simply exporting raw commodities.