July 19, 2019 – Winnipeg, Manitoba
The Government of Canada continues to invest in Canadian innovation in the food and beverage processing industry to create good middle-class jobs and ensure the sector is able to succeed in a competitive global market.
Today, the Honourable Jim Carr, Minister of International Trade Diversification, on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, announced an investment of up to $30 million in the Canadian Food Innovators Network (CFIN). Through a new digital hub, a series of collaboration events and network-funded projects, CFIN will bring together key players in Canadian food innovation, including research and development centres; small, medium and large companies; and academia.
The network will help accelerate product development, innovation, and technology adoption in Canada’s food and beverage processing sector by funding projects under three streams:
- Innovative solutions to food processing challenges;
- Collaborative projects in automation, packaging, artificial intelligence, blockchain development and commercialization; and
- New innovation centres that will enable automation and piloting of digital technologies.
For projects that will be done in conjunction with industry, companies will contribute matching funds.
Thanks in part to this investment, Canadians will benefit from more Canadian food brands and increased choice of innovative, healthy and sustainable food and beverage products, while small and medium-sized Canadian companies will benefit from new opportunities. For example, the network could help accelerate the development and adoption of new smart food-packaging materials with embedded sensor technology to improve food safety, monitor freshness and extend shelf life.
“By fostering technology adoption and innovation in our food and beverage processing sector, our government is helping to ensure the industry continues to punch above its weight and be a source of well-paying jobs across Canada. The Canadian Food Innovators Network will bring exciting changes to a dynamic industry, meaning more innovative, healthy and sustainable food and beverage products for Canadians.”
– The Honourable Jim Carr, Minister of International Trade Diversification
“Canada’s food and beverage processing sector employs tens of thousands of middle-class workers across Canada. Our government is proud to support the efforts of the Canadian Food Innovators Network to drive innovation in this important sector, which will help businesses adopt new technologies, bring exciting new products to market, and ensure continued growth and job creation.”
– The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Developmen
“Canada’s food processing industry is our largest employer, drives over half of our exports and is the single largest customer for our farmers. Funding innovation through the Canadian Food Innovators Network will help ensure our processors are at the forefront of innovation, growing their businesses, boosting their competitiveness at home and abroad, and creating good middle-class jobs.”
– The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
“The Canadian Food Innovators Network will strengthen the connectivity across existing research centres, firms and people to build partnerships throughout the food and beverage manufacturing sector. This will advance innovation with practical, results-oriented solutions and let Canada grow its food economy by exporting high-value food products and related technologies to global customers.”
– Dr. Joseph Lake, Chair, Canadian Food Innovators
Led by Canadian Food Innovators, CFIN is expected to begin with 18 partners across 10 provinces.
The food and beverage processing sector is the largest source of manufacturing jobs in Canada, directly employing more than a quarter million Canadians in 2018.
The investment supports the first step toward meeting the recommendation of the Agri-Food Economic Strategy Table to establish a Canadian agri-food innovation centre.
This investment is being made through Stream 4 of the Strategic Innovation Fund, a program designed to attract and support high-quality business investments in Canada’s most dynamic and innovative sectors.
CFIN is one of two winning projects selected for funding after a rigorous competition under the Strategic Innovation Fund, which was announced on December 14, 2018.
In addition to the Strategic Innovation Fund, there are hundreds of programs and services to help businesses innovate, create jobs and grow Canada’s economy. With a simple, story-based user interface, the Innovation Canada platform can match businesses with the most fitting programs and services in about two minutes.