The Canadian government has announced that they will invest CAD 120,000 in support of the Canadian Food Innovators’ (CFI) food processing science cluster and their ongoing efforts to match the needs of food and beverage manufacturers with the resources and abilities of research centres, food technology centres, and universities throughout Canada. This brings the total amount of funding provided by the Canadian government to the CFI to CAD 2.6 million.
The CFI is an industry-led organization that represents food, beverage, and natural health product manufacturers throughout Canada. They aim to accelerate innovation through the commercialization and adoption of advanced agri-based products, technologies, and innovative foods, and to encourage the growth and success of the Canadian food and beverage industry. The CFI is working with food and beverage manufacturers in order to better understand their needs and priorities, particularly those related to research, as well as technology and product innovation. The CFI will be holding Food and Beverage Innovation Priority Forum sessions throughout the country in order to understand, at the company level, research and innovation needs and priorities. In a statement, Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, said, “This investment will help Canadian food and beverage manufacturers better compete, innovate and capitalize on new opportunities. Our government’s commitment to the added-value of the agri-food sector was clearly demonstrated in our recent federal budget – the sector will help grow the economy, create good, new well-paying jobs and grow the middle class.” Additionally, Canada’s food and beverage industry will benefit greatly from the CFI’s findings and other initiatives in terms of its capacity for innovation and ability to compete in the global market.
The Canadian food and beverage industry is the second-largest manufacturing industry in Canada in terms of production value. According to Agiculture and Agri-Food Canada, it accounts for 17% of total manufacturing shipments. In 2014, it accounted for the largest share of total manufacturing GDP at 16%. It’s also the largest manufacturing employer, employing more than 240,000 Canadians. Innovation in food and beverage products is beginning to gain importance with those involved in the industry with a reported 60% of food and beverage companies in Canada investing in innovative practices, technologies, and new product development.