Food and Beverage Ontario: A New Organization with a Dynamic Mandate

Did you know that you are employed by one of the largest manufacturing sectors in Ontario? The former Alliance of Ontario Food Processors (AOFP) indicates that Ontario’s food and beverage processors are 3000 strong, employing 125, 000 people, generating $39 billion annually and adding value to 65% of products from Ontario farms. By 2020 the sector is forecasted to be the largest manufacturing employer in Ontario and the number one customer of Ontario’s agricultural sector. The food and beverage processing sector is a large and vital part of the Ontario economy and needs a strong voice to speak on its behalf.

To address the concerns of the processing industry, a new organization, Food and Beverage Ontario (FBO) was created in June. The organization arose from the former AOFP, a coalition of food and beverage associations. Like the Alliance before, it is the only provincial association with the mandate to represent all Ontario processors. The FBO features a new governance model designed to strengthen the input from the processing sector and a new logo to represent its mandate. Membership is now by company with a pro-rated fee structure. The FBO is developing a stronger focus and a more powerful voice, providing the leadership needed by the food and beverage processing sector. The organization will wear many hats, acting as an industry advocate, collaborator, strategist, network provider and educator.

FBO recently announced a dynamic and greatly expanded strategy titled “Ontario’s Food and Beverage Processing Industry Strategy: The New Engine of Ontario’s Economy”. The strategy is far reaching, covering a four step action plan. All of these areas are important to the CIFST membership and the companies we work with and for.

  1. Establishing a Food and Beverage Innovation Centre
  2. Raising the Profile of Ontario Food & Drink
  3. Developing Talent & a Future in Food
  4. Simplifying and Modernizing Regulations

The Food and Beverage Innovation Centre will be both physical and on-line. It is a comprehensive approach to providing an environment for the processing sector to innovate and competitively develop business opportunities. The Centre will include an innovation resource and portal, which will connect Ontario processors globally with resources in technologies, marketing, manufacturing and packaging. The Centre will also provide an incubator-pilot plant for small scale manufacturing. There will be support for business strategy and market development, as well as for capital access options and value chain partnerships. In short the Innovation Centre will be a resource for processors from idea generation to successful commercialization.

Another FBO objective is to reach out to other stakeholders. FBO will raise the profile of the Ontario brand for safe, healthy, high quality foods both domestically and internationally. Working with other industry champions and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food, FBO will develop programs to expand the reputation for Ontario products. Reaching out also involves looking to the future to develop talent for the food and beverage processing sector. Here, FBO will work with various Ontario Ministries and coordinate with post-secondary institutions to raise student awareness of opportunities in the food and beverage processing industry and support processors’ needs for a skilled workforce.

Many in the processing sector will be gratified to know that the FBO has taken a strong leadership position in simplifying and modernizing regulations. FBO is advocating a “one window” approach to streamlining regulations from three levels of government. The objective is speed approvals, reduce costs and build a collaborative approach. Recently, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) issued a document titled “A New Regulatory Framework for Federal Food Inspection: Overview of Proposed Regulations.” The purpose of this extensive document is to address proposed changes in such areas as licensing, trade, traceability, safety, control, standards and labelling. FBO has responded with a very definitive and proactive submission advocating the processors’ position.

Since the Spring FBO has moved forward on a number of initiatives. Readers are encouraged to visit the new FBO website at www.foodandbeverageontario.ca to learn more about the organization and its full range of activities. The new FBO location is 100 Stone Rd. West, Ste. 201, Guelph, ON, N1G 5L3. For more information contact Ms. Isabel Dopta, Director, Communications & Industry Relations or Mr. Alan Grant, Director, Membership & Industry Relations. Both can be reached at 519-826-3741.

Companies in the food and beverage processing sector, now have in place an organization which is responsive to Ontario industry concerns and which will lead, promote, and support our industry. Consider encouraging your company to review the advantages FBO offers its members. We wish Food and Beverage Ontario every success as they move to implement a very ambitious and welcomed strategy.

Alice and Doug Chapman
Douglas Chapman and Associates Inc.
alice@thefoodtechwriter.com
519-574-3796

The Guelph Food Research Centre

A World Class Research Facility to Support Production of Safe, High Quality, and Nutritious Food

The Guelph Food Research Centre (GFRC) is located in Guelph, Ontario, at the heart of Canada’s largest concentration of expertise dedicated to food research and development. Established in 1997, it is one of a network of 18 Federal research centres across Canada created by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC). The Centre employs about 60 fulltime staff including 17 Research Scientists with support staff. Scientific activities at GFRC are managed by Dr. Gabriel Piette, Director Research, Development, and Technology Transfer (RDT), and by Dr. Puni Piyasena, Associate Director RDT.Continue Reading

What In The World Is Going On With Fats?

Doug Chapman recently presented “What In The World Is Going On With Fats?” to Women In Food Industry Management. Sixty plus members were treated to a presentation on changing attitudes to trans fats and saturated fats and how omega-3 fatty acids are leading functional foods growth. An active Q and A session followed.

Requests for copies of the presentation lead to “What In The World Is Going On with Fats?” being posted below.Continue Reading

Canada’s Technology for Food (CTFF)

High Tech + Food Processing = Improved Productivity + Lower Costs

In June 2013 the Accelerator Centre in Waterloo, Ontario, renowned for its cultivation and commercialization of advanced electronic and software technologies, announced a partnership with the City of Waterloo to launch a new program targeted at the Ontario and Canadian food and beverage processing sectors. The program, Canada’s Technology for Food (CTFF), has received $200,000 in seed funding from the City of Waterloo.  Ted McKechnie, former president of the Canada based multinational, Maple Leaf Foods, is CTFF’s first chair and will head up the effort. Continue Reading

FoodTech Innovation Portal: A Valuable Resource for Canadian Manufacturers

On May 1 of this year HighTech Europe launched their “Food Tech Innovation Portal” (www.foodtech-portal.eu). The portal is a free compilation of food processing resources, information and tools for innovation.

HighTech Europe, the parent program, is a food processing excellence network consisting of 22 organizations (21 from Europe, 1 from Australia). The FoodTech Innovation Portal (FTIP) is one of many projects funded by HighTech Europe which is currently operating with a contribution from the European Commission of €5.87 billion ($7.89 billion) over 56 months.

The FTIP was four years in development. Its objective is to provide a central address with bundled information for those interested in innovation, including open innovation. The FTIP supports the implementation of new technologies and thus fosters the competitiveness of the European food sector. Small and medium sized companies are especially encouraged to use the resources of the portal as they often possess limited internal resources.

As a comprehensive and detailed go-to centre, the Portal lists 205 distinct technologies related to food processing. The list extends from acrylamide mitigation strategies to X-ray for non-invasive food quality control. The technologies can be sorted alphabetically or by principle (physical, chemical, biological), or by type of operation (separation, stabilization, structure formation, conversion, packaging) or by innovation source (information & communication technology, nanotechnology, biotechnology).

Each technology listing contains a description of the technology, the principles behind it, where it can be used, where it cannot be used, its status, resource centres with capabilities and references to experts in the field.

Another interesting feature of the Portal is the innovation “tool box” or “road map” that is available under the “Innovation Guide” heading. This feature should be exceeding valuable to smaller companies or to anyone interested in taking a more disciplined approach to innovation.

The “Tool Box” consists of a matrix containing the four stages of innovation: Pre-feasibility, Feasibility, Development and Launching. Each of these stages is broken down into issues about technical, legal, financial, marketing and management. Perhaps of even more significance is the check list of questions between each stage of the innovation process designed to encourage a company to avoid prematurely moving to the next stage.

A final point about the FTIP is the ability of an interested organization to join, at no cost, as an “Associated Member” and post its own profile page and promote its own capabilities internationally. This status is required to obtain access to the contact information of the portal resources. At present there are 11 Canadian Associated Members.

Douglas Chapman
Douglas Chapman & Associates Inc.
519-574-3096
doug@chapmanfoodconsult.com

The Craig Richardson Institute of Food Processing Technology

A Unique Resource for the Ontario Food and Beverage Industry

Ontario now has a food processing training facility like no other in Canada. The IFPT, located on Conestoga College’s new Cambridge campus, boasts an 8,000 sq. ft. pilot plant. It is the only centre dedicated solely to the development of a skilled work force tailored to the needs of the food manufacturing sector. This state of the art facility, equipped through a $2.3 million FedDev grant and matching funds from Conestoga College, has three complete lines for beverage (UHT), bakery and fresh vegetable processing. Built in 2009 in partnership with the Alliance of Ontario Food Processors (AOFP), the Institute is named for Craig Richardson, former AOFP president, who championed the IFPT from idea generation to completion. In the Fall of 2011 the Institute received its first students.

The Institute’s programs are flexible, comprehensive and hands-on with both on-line and in-class instruction. The programs have been designed to satisfy the needs of a demanding manufacturing environment and the schedules of trainees and employers. Programs offered include Advanced Sanitation Practices, Food Processing Supervisor, and Food Processing Technician (Co-op).   Also offered is an apprenticeship program for Process Operator-Food Manufacturing overseen by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. Graduates from the Institute programs are not only valuable assets to their employers, but have the training to proceed forward with a crossover into electronics and robotics. Additionally, the Institute has courses in Food Safety and periodic courses such as the upcoming May/June six week course in Food Processing Operations for university Food Science students.

The Institute’s practical approach appeals both to current workers wanting to upgrade/retrain and companies who wish to upgrade their workers’ skills, in order to be on the forefront of technology and innovation. With regard to the latter the IFPT is available to customize courses for individual companies or groups. The IFPT is also actively marketing its program at the high school level to attract entry level students. In the future the IFPT may consider additional activities to augment its growth and become more valuable to the food processing community. These include becoming a food incubator and undertaking research projects with industry.

The IFPT has arrived at a pivotal time for the food processing industry and for the Province of Ontario. There is a documented skills shortage in food manufacturing which could only worsen. The food industry is the largest manufacturing sector in Canada. In Ontario the food and beverage industry has 127,000 employees and contributes $35 billion in sales value annually to Ontario’s economy (Economic Impact Analysis: Ontario Food and Beverage Processing Sector, September, 2012; Alliance of Ontario Food Processors). It is the province’s leading employer in the manufacturing sector. Furthermore, Ontario food manufacturers process over 65% of what is grown and produced by the agricultural sector. The food processing industry is instrumental to the economic health of the Province.

At a time when the food processing industry is buffeted by increased competition from tech-savvy foreign exporters, attacks from a sometimes strident and biased media, less than complimentary comments from some customers, increased costs to keep pace with constantly shifting regulations and a potential opening of our markets due to future trade agreements, Ontario has a strong competitive advantage with the Institute of Food Processing Technology. We have a state-of- the-art, customized, flexible and highly interactive resource to upgrade our work force and foster technological innovation in order to remain cost-effective and competitive.

In the author’s experience the Institute is not well known through-out the industry. Hopefully we can help remedy that to the benefit of both the Industry and the IFPT.

For additional information please contact:

Susan McLachlan, Communications Officer
Craig Richardson Institute of Food Processing Technology
850 Fountain Street South
Cambridge, ON N3H 0A8
smclachlan@conestogac.on.ca
519-748-5220 ext. 2499

Doug Chapman
Douglas Chapman & Associates Inc.
doug@chapmanfoodconsult.com
519-574-3096

Information On Omega-3 Fatty Acids

We have all heard of omega-3 fatty acids but how many of us really know what omega-3’s are, what omega-3 fatty acids do and why omega-3’s are important?

Omega-3’s

  • Are fatty acid molecules composed of carbon, oxygen and hydrogen.
  • The fatty acids we are interested in consist of linear carbon chains 18 to 22 carbons long
  • They have a carboxyl group (COOH) at one end and a methyl group (CH3) at the other end

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