The food processing industry in Saskatchewan will reap the benefits from a recently opened new state-of-the-art Agri-Food Innovation Centre that will be operated by the Saskatchewan Food Industry Development Centre (Food Centre).
The $17.5 million facility will provide a fully-integrated concept-to-commercialization service through applied research for agricultural products, product and process development, and incubation for entrepreneurs and agri-food processors. It will house food development and analysis laboratories, an innovation suite for piloting and prototyping new technologies, and accredited multi-use development suites for use by SMEs to support commercialization of new products for export markets.
“The new Agri-Food Innovation Centre will play a key role in increasing the productivity and competitiveness of Saskatchewan’s food industry in domestic and international markets,” says the Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. “The Government of Canada is pleased to see this plan come to fruition and to continue our support of this industry through investments in plant protein research and development.”
The Hon. Ralph Goodale announced subsequently that their will also be two new investments totalling $417, 500. The first investment of $117,500 through the Western Diversification Program, will enable the Food Centre to purchase equipment to separate and isolate protein from alfalfa and split field peas on a pilot-level scale. The second investment of $300,000 will also help the Food Centre purchase equipment and develop commercial uses for Western Canadian pulse starch by-products left over from the protein separation process.
“With support from the Government of Canada, the Agri-Food Innovation Centre will further position our industry to be strong leaders in innovation and technology for the food processing sector,” says Dan Prefontaine, president, Saskatchewan Food Industry Development Centre Inc. “The new investments announced today, coupled with the Food Centre’s expertise in applied research and development, will pave the way for new food concepts in a changing market.”
The Food Centre is the primary provider of food product development, technology transfer, commercialization and food safety training for Saskatchewan’s food industry. It has been instrumental in developing hundreds of products, many of which have already been introduced to market. It is also an integral part of Saskatchewan’s value-added food sector, particularly in development related to cereal grains, oilseeds, pulses and edible oils.