Canada and Saskatchewan Governments Invest in Food Industry Development Centre

The Governments of Canada and Saskatchewan announced $250,000 in funding today as part of a $1.7 million project to increase co-packing capacity at the Saskatchewan Food Industry Development Centre in Saskatoon.

“The Canadian agriculture and agri-food sector thrives when entrepreneurs are able to take that first step to develop and commercialize a new product,” said Canada’s Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Marie-Claude Bibeau. “This investment in the expansion of the Saskatchewan Food Industry Development Centre will open the door wider to a new generation of innovators who will drive new growth in the Saskatchewan economy.”

“More expertise, more capability and more flexibility at the Food Centre creates more opportunities for agri-businesses to commercialize new products,” Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister David Marit said. “Saskatchewan’s value-added agriculture sector is bursting with potential. This investment taps into that potential for industry to turn their ideas into innovative, sustainable, marketable goods which keep them competitive and keep our economy growing.”

The co-packing project is comprised of a combination of new capital, in-kind and cash contributions from sources that include Prairie Economic Development Canada and industry stakeholders.

The investment will enable the Food Centre – through the purchase of specialized canning, bottling and packaging equipment – to provide early-stage product and market development services needed to support clients from the meat, plant protein, ingredients, fruit and vegetable processing sectors. Improved access to this kind of small batch in-house co-packing capacity will facilitate future growth for these emerging sectors in Saskatchewan’s processing industry.

“The Food Centre has been supporting agri-food companies in launching new products and providing them with interim processing solutions since 1997,” Saskatchewan Food Industry Development Centre Inc. President Mehmet Tulbek said. “As the global landscape changes and challenges in supply chains increase, Western Canada is being positioned to develop its footprint as a key supplier for both ingredients and ready-to-eat foods. This project will build on our current capacity to expand our capabilities in specific areas such as packaging, food processing, milling, modified ingredient scale-up and ingredient isolation in the plant-based food sector.”

The Food Centre offers the capacity and expertise to pilot new products without the need for major capital investments in unproven technologies, making it a strong support mechanism for companies seeking to launch them. The Food Centre has already been a major resource in expanding the potential of pulse-based ingredients and has identified new innovative utilization solutions in food applications.

The $250,000 in funding was provided through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership which preceded the current Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership (Sustainable CAP). The Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP) was a five-year, $3 billion investment by federal, provincial and territorial governments to strengthen and grow Canada’s agriculture, agri-food and agri-products sectors. This included a $2 billion commitment that was cost-shared 60 per cent federally and 40 per cent provincially/territorially for programs that were designed and delivered by provinces and territories.

(Saskatchewan Government News Release)

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