Industry and academia team up to secure Canada’s food supply

Canada’s leading food and beverage processing associations come together to invest in first-national food supply chain platform

MONTREAL, Quebec, Aug. 10, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Today, Protein Industries Canada announced the Food Convergence Innovation (FCI) Canada – Food and Beverage Supply Chain Project. The FCI-Canada Project focuses on creating a national, sector-wide platform with enterprise-to-enterprise connectivity capabilities, which will help strengthen Canada’s domestic food supply chain. Linking food and beverage companies across the country, the project will make it easier to recover from COVID-19 and other emerging issues, as well as diversify Canada’s plant-based food, feed and ingredients offerings through collaborative partnerships.

Canada’s leading food and beverage associations will build provincial and regional databases that will then be connected into a national network. This project builds on Conseil de la Transformation Alimentaire du Québec (CTAQ)’s existing Systeme Numerique Alimentaire Collaboratif (SNAC) collaboration platform, developed by Bivizio and currently in use in Quebec, as well as data science work conducted at the University of Ottawa. In its evolution to FCI-Canada, the national platform will help companies from across Canada make connections across the value chain by allowing them to post and search for specific products, services and partners within given geographic parameters. The FCI-Canada platform will also evolve to be responsive to supply chain disruptions such as those associated with COVID-19. Expanding its functionality across the country will mean better responsiveness across the national supply chain and will help ensure the security of Canada’s food system.

“Canada’s Protein Industries Supercluster is bringing together companies of all sizes and academic institutions to create new possibilities for innovation and collaboration and promote bold new ideas in the agrifood sector,” said the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. “Through this project, the Supercluster is bringing together partners from all across the country to find innovative solutions to today’s challenges and make our food and beverage supply chain stronger and safer.”

“Canada is at the forefront of agricultural innovation, and to stay ahead of the curve we must continue to invest and collaborate. The Protein Industries Supercluster launched by our Government in 2018 has been a made-in-Canada success story of dynamic new partnerships and innovations in agriculture. This project is yet another example of how the Protein Industries Supercluster is creating exciting new opportunities for producers and agri-food entrepreneurs that respond to emerging consumer demands,” said the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.

The FCI-Canada Project will be led by McGill Centre for the Convergence of Health and Economics with a national consortium of Food and Beverage Canada, CTAQ, Food & Beverage Atlantic, Food and Beverage Ontario, Food & Beverage Manitoba, BC Food & Beverage, Bivizio, and the University of Ottawa. These organizations are together investing $500,000 into the project, with Protein Industries Canada investing $2.1 million, for a total project value of $2.7 million.

“Improving our sector’s ability to both innovate and respond to emerging issues requires a collaborative, innovative solution in and of itself,” Protein Industries Canada CEO Bill Greuel said. “This digital platform will help connect the value chain across the country, from ingredient processors in the east, to food manufacturers on the west coast. And better yet, it will do so in a way that will improve the lives of Canadians, thanks to its ability to further strengthen our domestic supply chain and increase the selection of food products available across the country.”

The platform will help the Canadian plant-based food, feed and ingredients sector improve its international competitiveness by allowing companies to respond collaboratively and more easily to shifts in consumer demand. This will lead to the development of new plant-based protein ingredients and products, providing consumers around the world with more choices that align with their values, lifestyles and nutrition needs.

“We believe this project demonstrates the value of Canadian industry partners working together toward a common goal – ensuring the strength and the resilience of Canada’s food sector,” Food and Beverage Canada CEO Kathleen Sullivan said. “This platform, which will serve the interests of Canada’s food and beverage manufacturing sector from coast to coast, confirms the value of the provincial associations forming Food and Beverage Canada.”

“This project will provide Canada’s critical food and beverage manufacturers with the ability to connect to customers and suppliers across the country,” Food & Beverage Atlantic Executive Director Tammy Brideau said. “In Atlantic Canada, we recognize that greater connectivity will lead to a stronger and more efficient food and beverage sector.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic did more than reveal weaknesses in our healthcare system, it also exposed the fragility of Canada’s ability to feed itself,” McGill Vice-Principal of Research and Innovation Martha Crago said. “This project demonstrates the value of academia working together and with industry to impact a precious, but all too often taken for granted, resource: the food we eat.”

The project marks Protein Industries Canada’s third project through its capacity building program, and their 25th overall. Together with industry, Protein Industries Canada has committed more than $377 million to the Canadian plant-based food, feed and ingredients sector.

Media may contact:

Miranda Burski
Regina, SK

About McGill University

The McGill Centre for the Convergence of Health and Economics (MCCHE), hosted at the Desautels Faculty of Management, assembles scientists from across seven McGill Faculties. In spearheading the creation of worldwide ecosystem of food convergence innovation platforms, MCCHE has brought together a broad spectrum of stakeholders into a network of national and international academic and action partners Founded in Montreal, Que., in 1821, McGill University is Canada’s top-ranked medical doctoral university. McGill is consistently ranked as one of the top universities, both nationally and internationally. It is a world-renowned institution of higher learning with research activities spanning two campuses, 11 faculties, 13 professional schools, 300 programs of study and more than 40,000 students, including more than 10,200 graduate students. McGill attracts students from more than 150 countries around the world, its 12,800 international students making up 31 per cent of the student body. Over half of McGill students claim a first language other than English, including approximately 19per cent of students who say French is their mother tongue.

About Conseil de la Transformation Alimentaire du Québec (CTAQ)

Le Conseil de la transformation alimentaire du Québec (CTAQ) is a consolidation of the strengths of the industry that represents 13 associations and more than 550 member companies. Its mission is to ensure the representation, promotion and defense of the interests of its members with stakeholders and to support them in reaching their full potential to ensure the sustainability of the food industry of the province of Quebec.

Sébastien Nadeau, Vice-President, Marketing and Corporate Strategy
450 349-1521, ext. 215

About Food and Beverage Canada

Food and Beverage Canada is the national industry association representing Canada’s provincial and regional food and beverage manufacturing associations and leading Canadian food and beverage companies.

Kristina Proulx, Director of Communications

About Food & Beverage Atlantic

Food & Beverage Atlantic is invested in the growth of food and beverage companies in Atlantic Canada representing 205 members. We are focused on identifying new business development opportunities through domestic or international export, expanding education and training programs, facilitating the findings of ecosystem information and delivering important industry knowledge sessions and networking events.

Tammy Brideau, Executive Director

About Food and Beverage Ontario

Food and Beverage Ontario is the professional leadership organization for Ontario's food and beverage processing industry — an exceptional industry that employs more than 125,000 Ontarians and is vital to the health and wellness of Canadians and people around the globe. The organization is a proven powerhouse advancing the interests of business and advocating on industry competitiveness issues.

Isabel Dopta, Communications Director

About Food & Beverage Manitoba

Food & Beverage Manitoba is a provincial association representing hundreds of diverse members in Manitoba’s food and beverage processing industry.  Their mission is to promote the development of a thriving food and beverage industry in Manitoba and to ensure their members have the resources, strength, and conditions favourable for their success. 

Michael Mikulak, Executive Director

About BC Food & Beverage

BC Food & Beverage is a not-for-profit industry association representing food and beverage manufacturers in British Columbia, whose membership represents over $7 billion in industry revenues. Their strong network, values-based approach and unparalleled industry expertise allows us to support their members in every stage and area of their business. Their goal is to provide industry with the right ingredients for growth.

James Donaldson, CEO

About Bivizio

Bivizio is a technology company specialized in the digitization of business and innovation ecosystems, the characterization and geo-positioning of strategic assets, the management of industrial clusters, the deployment of circular economies and the analysis of supply chains and value chains. Their modular platforms facilitate data entry and analysis that aim to increase competitiveness, capacity for innovation, level of cooperation and internationalization of ecosystem stakeholders. 

About the University of Ottawa

The Telfer School of Management and the Institute for Science, Society and Policy are the University of Ottawa partners on this project. The University of Ottawa is home to more than 50,000 students, faculty and staff, who live, work and study in both French and English. Their campus is a crossroads of cultures and ideas, where bold minds come together to inspire game-changing ideas. They are one of Canada’s top 10 research universities—their professors and researchers explore new approaches to today’s challenges. One of a handful of Canadian universities ranked among the top 200 in the world, they attract exceptional thinkers and welcome diverse perspectives from across the globe. At the Telfer School of Management, everything they do, from teaching, to research, to policy advice is firmly aligned with helping Canada reach its potential. They believe that better business practice means a better Canada. Through the Institute for Science, Society and Policy, they foster rigorous decision-making in uncertain, disruptive times on complex problems at the interface of science, society and policy.