Food In Canada

Canada’s food processing industry receives investment from federal government

Food in Canada   

Food In Canada Research & Development Canadian Food Innovators Network CFI invest Strategic Innovation Fund

Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, was at the Bonduelle food processing plant in Bedford where she announced an investment of up to $4.6 million to the Food and Beverage Cluster through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership’s AgriScience Program. The cluster, led by the Canadian Food Innovators (CFI), will include an additional $2 million in contributions from industry, for a total investment of $6.6 million.

The cluster will support cutting-edge research on product and technology innovations in cereals, oats, pulses and new ingredients that serve as natural preservatives. The projects will also focus on the development of innovative alternatives in frozen food safety practices to help extend shelf-life and enhance Canada’s global competitiveness.

Ten research projects across Canada are being funded through the cluster. The projects focus on addressing issues affecting dairy, pork, poultry, cereals, pulse and vegetable processing under the themes of processing innovation to increase value-added applications and food safety and quality innovation to mitigate risk, build public trust and address consumer needs.

CFI undertook a national consultative and priority setting process with the food and beverage industry in 2017 to identify the main themes of this new cluster.


Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, on behalf of the Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, also reaffirmed an investment of up to $30 million in the Canadian Food Innovators Network (CFIN) through the Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF).

The CFIN, led by the Canadian Food Innovators, 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, and blockchain technology; and, pilot-scale equipment at Canada’s food and beverage innovation centres.

These investments also support the vision of the recently announced Food Policy for Canada, that Canada’s food system is resilient, innovative and enhances our economy. Improved coordination, collaboration and innovation in the food processing sector through initiatives such as the cluster, can help to strengthen the food system.

Background – Canadian Food Innovators funded research projects

The following research projects have been funded through the Canadian Food Innovators research cluster.

Atlantic Canada

Brewing with Craft Floor Malt: A Pilot Study
Principal investigator:
Dr. R. A. Speers, Dalhousie University
Partners: Propeller Brewing Co., Horton Ridge Malt and Grain Co and 2 Crows Brewing Co.
Synopsis: This project is looking to improve barley floor malting for brewing by monitoring the effects of different processing variables on malt quality. Flavour differences between floor malting and conventional malting of Canadian barley and use of different Canadian varieties will also be studied.

Development of mushroom chitosan as a natural preservative ingredient for use in Canadian clean label processed food and beverages
Principal investigator:
David Brown, Chinova Bioworks
Partner: Chinova Bioworks
Synopsis: This project is developing chitosan, a naturally occurring fibre found in mushrooms, as an effective and natural preservative that can replace synthetic preservatives in food and beverage processing. It will also gather the necessary data needed for a Health Canada regulatory application that would allow the product to be used as a food ingredient in Canada.

Extraction of value-added bioactive ingredients for use in functional foods and films
Principal investigator:
Dr. Beth Mason, Cape Breton University
Partners: Saputo Dairy Products Canada, Acadian Seaplants Ltd and COPOL International Ltd.
Synopsis: This research aims to develop a new process that would replace chemical preservatives with a functional bio-film that has antimicrobial, antioxidant and biosensing properties. The bioactive molecules would use co-products from cheese production and waste streams from marine and poultry processing.


Optimizing microbiological quality and safety of fresh and processed pork products
Principal investigators:
Dr. Guylaine Talbot, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Sherbrooke; Dr. Sylvain Fournaise, Olymel S.E.C/L.P
Partner: Olymel
Synopsis:  This project is looking at the impact of using antibiotics in pig feed on the microbial quality of fresh pork and processed pork products with the goal of extending shelf life for export markets.

The evaluation and implementation of bio protection and competitive biofilms in the food industry
Principal investigators:
Dr. Tony Savard, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada St. Hyacinthe; Réjean Drouin, Exceldor Co-operative
Partners: Exceldor, Bonduelle Canada
Synopsis: This activity will investigate the use of clean solutions like polymicrobial biofilms to increase product shelf life, and explore antibacterial strategies against pathogens like salmonella, listeria and campylobacter.

Using pulsed light as an antimicrobial treatment of frozen vegetables
Principal investigators:
Louis Falardeau, Bonduelle Canada; Fadia Naim, Cintech
Partners: Bonduelle Canada, Cintech
Synopsis: This project is looking at the potential of pulsed light to destroy listeria on frozen vegetables like peas, corn, green beans and sliced carrots without affecting their taste, quality or texture.


Chemical-Free food safety approach to mitigate Listeria in food processing environment
Principal investigator:
Dr. Hany Anany, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Guelph
Partner: Gay Lea Foods
Synopsis:  The main objective is to develop procedures to reduce Listeria in dairy processing through development of a bio-sanitation agent for use on food contact surfaces and drains in food processing facilities.

Unlocking new functionalities and health benefits in wheat product applications
Principal investigator:
Dr. Iris Joye, University of Guelph
Partners: Mondelez International, Ardent Mills, Dare Foods Limited, Griffith Foods Ltd., Everspring Farms and Ontario Cereal Industry Research Council.
Synopsis: This project is exploring new health properties of wheat through sprouting and milling of Ontario-grown coloured wheat, as well as enabling clean labels by replacing food additives with sprouted wheat.


Evaluating the effect of processing methods, genotype and environment on the extractability of protein from oats and characterizing physiochemical and nutritional attributes of oat protein
Principal investigator:
Dr. Nancy Ames, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Richardson Centre for Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals
Partner: Roquette Canada
Synopsis: This project is developing cost-effective extraction and concentration processes to identify Canadian oat varieties suited to oat protein production, as well as investigate and characterize the functional properties of oat protein and assess nutritional attributes. The goal is to enable the promotion of oat protein as a food ingredient.

Process optimization for functional oat protein isolate production
Principal investigator:
Dr. Rotimi Aluko, University of Manitoba
Partners: Richardson Milling Ltd. and Manitoba Food Development Centre
Synopsis: This activity is developing a process for producing high protein oat powders and products that could be scaled up commercially and used in the development of new food products.


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