The federal government is promising up to $30 million towards advancing the food- and drink-processing industry across Canada.
International Trade Diversification Minister Jim Carr made the announcement Friday at Peak of the Market on King Edward Street.
The money — which will come from the federal government’s strategic innovation fund— will go toward the Canadian Food Innovators Network, an online hub for companies and universities that links them with events, projects and research to advance processing technology.
“Our government is helping to ensure the industry continues to punch above its weight and be a source of well-paying jobs across Canada,” Carr said.
“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 network is expected to expand and advance the industry by funding projects under three categories:
- Innovative solutions to food-processing challenges.
- Collaborative projects in automation, packaging, artificial intelligence and through the creation of centres that will allow for automation of new digital technologies.
- Projects with the private sector matching federal contributions.
The network could, for example, hasten the development of new food packaging materials with embedded sensor technology to improve food safety, monitor freshness and extend shelf life, according to a federal news release.
Carr says the money will give Canada a more competitive edge in the food- and beverage-processing industry.