Toronto – An initiative that will help promote growth and innovation in Ontario’s food sector launched this week.
Food & Consumer Products of Canada (FCPC), with support
Pictured from left to right are: Anne Sado, president, George Brown College; Norm Beal, president, Food and Beverage Ontario; Nancy Croitoru, president and CEO, Food & Consumer Products of Canada; Dan Magliocco, president, Mondelez Canada International; Janet De Silva, president and CEO, Toronto Region Board of Trade; Norm Kelly, Toronto City Councillor; and Winnie Chiu and Chef John Higgins, also from George Brown College, at a cooking demonstration at George Brown College’s Food and Innovation Research Studio (FIRSt).
from public and private sector partners, launched the GTA Food and Beverage Cluster.
The cluster aims to make the food industry, one of the Greater Toronto Area’s significant economic drivers, even stronger.
A cluster connects business, government and colleges and universities. It’s a focused approach to regional economic development that is internationally proven to be one of the strongest avenues to increased business growth and new connections.
The initial focus will be on innovation, skills and labour, reports the TorontoStar.com. The cluster will produce an annual report on jobs in the food and beverage industry and promote the sector as a career choice that offers good-paying jobs in a variety of areas from manufacturing and marketing to science and technology.
The cluster will also help link the industry with academic programs to tackle real business challenges and share information about government funding, say the TorontoStar.com.
“As President of Upper Crust in north Toronto, I am proud to support and co-chair the GTA Food & Beverage Cluster,” says Carmela Serebryany-Harris, president of Upper Crust and cluster co-chair.
“Access to helpful information and new connections are powerful tools to help businesses grow. I know that by working together we can make the food and beverage manufacturing sector an even bigger driver for the regional economy.”
The launch took place at Toronto’s George Brown College’s Food and Innovation Research Studio.
The FCPC says close to 60,000 people in the GTA work in the sector every day, making food and beverage manufacturing the number one manufacturing employer in the region, larger than auto, and the second in North America – outside Los Angeles.
As well, up to 75 per cent of agricultural production in the rural area surrounding the GTA is processed locally.
There’s also going to be an information hub: www.gtafoodcluster.ca, which will offer:
• an annual market survey;
• food industry specific post-secondary program offerings;
• business support opportunities with government, academia and stakeholders; and
• information to promote the economic clout of the sector.