Alberta’s plant-based food sector receives federal support

(Kara Oosterhuis/RealAgriculture)

Terry Duguid, parliamentary secretary to the Honourable Mélanie Joly, minister of economic development and official languages, and minister responsible for western economic diversification Canada (WD), announced more than $2.6 million in federal funding for the Food Processing Development Centre in Leduc, Alta.

This investment will support the installation of equipment specifically focused on supporting companies to develop new plant-based foods and products. With western Canada already producing high-protein pulse crops such as peas, lentils, and chickpeas, the goal of the initiative is to enable agri-food producers to turn these crops into higher-value ingredients or finished products, before exporting them to markets around the globe.

Operated by the government of Alberta, the Food ProcessingDevelopment Centre is a fully equipped pilot plant and product development facility. It is staffed with experienced food scientists, engineers, and technologists who work with businesses to develop and fine-tune their products. Over the next four years, the government of Canada’s support will enable the facility to assist approximately 100 small- and medium-sized companies, and potentially bring up to 30 new products to market.

Devin Dreeshen, minister of Alberta agriculture and forestry, says this is a critical piece in Alberta’s Recovery Plan, which aims to attract more than $1.4 billion in value-added processing.

“This investment will enhance the Food Processing Development Centre, which is staffed with experienced food scientists, engineers, and technologists who work with entrepreneurs to develop and fine-tune their products, ultimately strengthening and expanding the capability of Alberta’s food processors to meet the challenges of the marketplace,” he explains. “Alberta fully recognizes the value of the Centre and has invested nearly $100 million in it since 1984. We welcome this funding from the federal government which will support Alberta’s plan to attract investment by focusing on sustainable growth and diversity in our crop and food production sectors, while creating stable jobs for Albertans at a time when they need it most.”

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