May 04, 2021

Food Centre Expansion Will Support Saskatchewan’s Value-Added Agriculture Sector

The Governments of Canada and Saskatchewan are pleased to announce a $2.3 million investment into the expansion of the Agri-Food Innovation Centre.  This funding is part of the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP).

The Saskatchewan Food Industry Development Centre, the province's only commercial incubation centre for food processing, is undergoing a major expansion to further assist food processors with adding value to their products and preparing to bring them to market.

To date, the first phase addition has added 12,200 square feet at the site of the Agri-Food Innovation Centre in Saskatoon.  The first phase expansion will consist of additional incubation suites, storage and an extrusion commercialization suite; the second phase will include a maintenance shop and a separate facility for food and industrial (non-food) processing.

"Our Saskatchewan food processors continue to develop innovative value-added foods and beverages that respond to changing consumer demand in Canada and around the world,” said Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Marie-Claude Bibeau.  "This funding will support the development of new agri-food products, creating more jobs and a more diversified agricultural economy for Saskatchewan."

"The Food Centre is a vital hub of Saskatchewan’s agriculture sector, which is helping drive the future success for our farmers and food businesses,” said Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages (Western Economic Diversification Canada) Terry Duguid.  "With today’s investment that builds on our federal investment from 2019, we are strengthening the Food Centre’s ability to serve Saskatchewan agricultural producers, particularly smaller food companies, and adding value to this bedrock economic sector for the province."

"The expansion of the Food Centre reflects not only the growth of our value-added food and beverage processing sector in Saskatchewan, but also the Food Centre's reputation for excellence and innovation," Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister David Marit said.  "Saskatchewan is uniquely positioned to help meet growing global consumer demand for agri-food products.  Our government's commitment to the Food Centre expansion supports the growth of our value-added industry and encourages the commercialization of new ideas, processes and products."

The Food Centre is a non-profit organization resulting from a partnership between the Government of Saskatchewan (represented by the Ministry of Agriculture), the Saskatchewan Food Processors Association, and the University of Saskatchewan.

"The Food Centre's vision to be a leader in Saskatchewan's agri-food industry is stronger than ever with the new expansion of the Agri-Food Innovation Centre," Food Centre President Dan Prefontaine said.  "The additional capacity in extrusion technology will support commercialization of Saskatchewan-grown crops in many innovative food products, specifically the plant-based protein market.  Our new incubation suites will continue to support the growth of agri-businesses by providing options for entrepreneurs and start-up companies in the agri-food sector.  We will leverage these new capabilities to grow the value-added industry in Saskatchewan."

The five-year, $3 billion CAP includes $2 billion for cost-shared strategic initiatives delivered by the provinces and territories and $1 billion for federal programs and services.

The total investment in the expansion is $7.55 million, with funding from a variety of sources including Western Economic Diversification Canada ($3.5 million), Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture ($2.3 million), industry support ($1 million) and the Food Centre's own capital reserve ($750,000).

Since its inception in 1997, the Food Centre has served over 400 clients and assisted with the development of 885 new products, helping to build on Saskatchewan's global reputation as a trusted supplier of safe, high-quality agriculture commodities and value-added products.  With record agricultural exports in 2020, Saskatchewan remains on track to meet its Growth Plan goals of growing agri-food exports to $20 billion and agriculture value-added revenue to $10 billion by 2030.