CFI: Federal funding announced for national food and beverage processing research

Winnipeg, 28 August 2019 – The federal government has committed close to $4.6 million towards national food and beverage processing research. The funding, announced by the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, will support the Canadian Food Innovators’ (CFI) research cluster, “Using science and innovation to strengthen Canada’s value-added food industry”.

“We appreciate this investment by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada into research and innovation in Canada’s food and beverage manufacturing industry,” says CFI Chair Joe Lake, Director of Innovation & Research at McCain Foods Limited. “At CFI, our focus is to advance innovation in our national food value chain by bringing together industry, technology specialists, academia and government, and this cluster enables us to work together to add sustainable value to the industry.”

The federal funding is provided through AAFC’s AgriScience program – cluster component under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, and is supplemented by industry contributions for a total project value of $6.6 million.

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.  

“The collaborative research we are able to do through this cluster will help strengthen our industry and drive economic growth,” adds Lake.

The Canadian Food Innovators was established in 2013 to enable Canada’s food and beverage manufacturing companies to jointly access federal innovation programs and successfully delivered the country’s first food processing research cluster.


For more information:
David Shambrock, CFI Executive Director, or 204-982-6372

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 fiber found in mushrooms, as an effective and natural preservative that can replace synthetic preservatives in food and beverage processing. It will also gather 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 be enable 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 development of new food products.

Link: Canadian Food Innovators News Release