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

Central Westcoast Forest Society is searching for wood and trees

Scrap wood will be used to help rebuild the local salmon populations near Tofino and Ucluelet.

UPDATED: Tofino-Ucluelet highway reopens after bridge installed earlier than expected

Hwy. 4 now open to all vehicles, including delivery trucks and RVs

UPDATED: Ucluelet and Tofino mayors call for “calmness” and “empathy” as highway closure cuts communities off from supplies

Ministry of transportation expects to open road for “essential travel only” from noon-8 p.m. Friday.

Tofino shakes up emergency notification service

“You can download maps and it has more functionality.”

Officials reaching out to those in contact with Canada’s first coronavirus patient

The illness has sickened at least 1,975 people and killed 56 in China

Canada’s basketball community mourns Kobe Bryant after helicopter crash

Bryant was an 18-time NBA all-star who won five championships

‘Devastated’: Fans, celebrities remember Kobe Bryant after his death

Bryant played all of his 20-year career with the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers

Investigation launched after six dead puppies dumped in Richmond hotel parking lot

RAPS reminds people they can always give up puppies they can’t take care of

Canadian Lunar New Year celebrations dampened by coronavirus worries

But Health Minister Patty Hajdu said today that the risk of infection is low

B.C. VIEWS: New coronavirus outbreak an important reminder

Walking the line between cautious and alarmist

Kobe Bryant, daughter killed in California helicopter crash

Bryant entered the NBA draft straight out of high school in 1996

Risk of coronavirus low in B.C. as first case emerges in Toronto: officials

There have been no confirmed cases of the virus in B.C.

Most Read