Food processing is the critical link in the “fork to farm” value chain that transforms agricultural products for consumers.
In Canada, the sector produces goods valued at over $105 billion each year and is the largest manufacturing industry in the country, accounting for 16 per cent of all manufacturing shipments, two per cent of national GDP, and 250,000 jobs nation-wide, many in rural and agricultural areas.
Canada’s food industry supplies about 77 per cent of all processed food and beverage products available domestically and is the largest buyer of Canadian agricultural products.
Canada exports food products to more than 180 countries, and although two-thirds of Canadian exports are destined for the U.S. market, opportunities in other markets, like China, are growing.
In spite of this success, there is a need to do more to stimulate innovation and growth in the sector.
Food and Beverage Canada (formerly called the Canadian Council of Food Processors) created Canadian Food Innovators (CFI) in 2013 to develop and manage a five-year research cluster for the food and beverage processing sector under the AgriInnovation Program: Industry-led Research and Development - Agri-science cluster funded through Growing Forward 2, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. As this program ends in March 2018, CFI is leading a submission for the next five year Canadian Agricultural Partnership Initiative to advance innovation for Canada’s food and beverage processors aligned with the priorities developed by the industry in 2017.
The cluster is key to addressing high priority issues in the sector in partnership with industry and academia, and better connecting the needs of food and beverage processors with available capacity and resources at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) research centres, and Canadian universities and food technology centres.
The benefit is far-reaching and broad-based for Canada as the cluster’s projects bridge the production and processing segments of the national agri-food value chain, and many are targeting the health and wellness potential of Canadian food products through both formulation and innovative processing technologies.
It is important to note that the cluster has benefited immensely from the support of AAFC and its staff. Without the resources of the cluster program, it’s unlikely that any of these projects would have been undertaken.
This site highlights the cutting edge work supported through the CFI cluster. We’re proud to introduce you to some of Canada’s leading food innovators.
David Shambrock, Past Chair
Canadian Food Innovators