July 28th, 2015
Introducing new technologies to food processing almost always increases productivity while decreasing overall costs. Canada’s Technology for Food (CTFF) provides these innovative technology solutions for food and beverage processors in Canada.
The CTFF is located in Waterloo, Ontario, a city that is renowned for its technological innovations. Many of Google’s top choices for new recruits come from the University of Waterloo. Of all the technical talent available in Canada, Waterloo possesses some of the most exciting opportunities for technological solutions in the modern era.
CTFF formed in Waterloo’s Economic Development Committee on May 28, 2013, and is currently led by former president of Maple Leaf Foods and food entrepreneur Ted McKechnie. Along with their stakeholders, the CTFF works to raise the profile of food processors in Waterloo and around the country. The CTFF is the first of its kind, highlighting Waterloo once more as a city leading the cutting competitive edge.
How Does Canada’s Technology for Food Operate?
Situated in Waterloo, the CTFF combines the rich technological history and expertise of the city to assist Canadian food and beverage processors with various new or improved technologies, making companies even better than they already are.
The CTFF works hand in hand with Waterloo’s world renowned Accelerator Centre. The Accelerator Centre has a proven past developing and commercializing technology for widespread usage. The support and education services they have help clients get to market faster, while generating jobs and economic growth in the process.
The team at CTFF creates technologies that create jobs while improving food safety, raise food exports in the food and agricultural sectors, and stimulate investment in the food processing industry.
Why is the CTFF Necessary?
The Canadian economy has struggled recently, yet the food processing industry remains the largest industry in the country, with over CAD $90 billion in yearly sales. Despite the success of the industry as a whole, food and agricultural sectors lack a strong and unified voice to represent their best interests. As a result, the industry is struggling to respond to fragmentation and increasing global competitiveness.
There are large numbers of workers available in the food processing industry but many of them lack employment. While some plants have indeed closed down, there are various other jobs available within the sector.
The CTFF helps companies and displaced employees transition their labour force, while aiding them to upgrade towards the Global Food Safety Industry (or GSFI) standard. While cost remains a restrictive factor for many companies considering the GSFI, this standard is the direction that the industry is moving.
What Does the CTFF Offer Food Processors?
The CTFF works with local food and beverage processors to produce an innovative range of solutions for common issues facing the industry. They identify a minimum of CAD $1 million in potential productivity gains. The catch? The technology does not yet exist.
Projects range in cost, but the food or beverage processor typically fronts approximately one-third of the project’s costs. The remaining balance usually comes from a range of government funding that is available for food processors.
Once the funding is in place, the CTFF assembles a specialized team from the food and beverage processing sector, a variety of different fabricators, and a series of academic skill sets to troubleshoot and solve the problem at hand.
After introducing working technological prototypes into these factories and plants, they iron out any tweaks or kinks until the technology is ready for commercial use.
They then patent the prototype with these new technologies, advertising and selling them across Canada and the U.S.
Canada’s Technology for Food remains in its initial phase, focusing on Waterloo and the south-western Ontario region. In time, it will cover the whole province, country, and ideally the world. While the impact is currently fairly local in scope, the implications expand well beyond the Waterloo region alone.
If you are interested in taking advantage of CTFF’s programs for your food or beverage processing company, you will need funding to do so.Let our expert staff at INAC help you get the government funding you need for your company to thrive.