Food industry and academia form partnership to secure Canada’s food supply
Major Canadian food and beverage processing associations come together to invest in first-national food supply chain platform.
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MONTREAL — On Aug. 10, Protein Industries Canada announced the Food Convergence Innovation (FCI) Canada – Food and Beverage Supply Chain Project. The FCI-Canada Project focuses on creating a national, sector-wide platform with enterprise-to-enterprise connectivity capabilities, which will help strengthen Canada’s domestic food supply chain. Linking food and beverage companies across the country, the project will make it easier to recover from COVID-19 and other emerging issues, as well as diversify Canada’s plant-based food, feed and ingredients offerings through collaborative partnerships.
Canada’s major food and beverage associations will build provincial and regional databases that will then be connected into a national network. This project builds on Conseil de la Transformation Alimentaire du Québec (CTAQ)’s existing Systeme Numerique Alimentaire Collaboratif (SNAC) collaboration platform, developed by Bivizio and currently in use in Quebec, as well as data science work conducted at the University of Ottawa. In its evolution to FCI-Canada, the national platform will help companies from across Canada make connections across the value chain by allowing them to post and search for specific products, services and partners within given geographic parameters. The FCI-Canada platform will also evolve to be responsive to supply chain disruptions such as those associated with COVID-19. Expanding its functionality across the country will mean better responsiveness across the national supply chain and will help ensure the security of Canada’s food system.
“Canada’s Protein Industries Supercluster is bringing together companies of all sizes and academic institutions to create new possibilities for innovation and collaboration and promote bold new ideas in the agrifood sector,” said the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. “Through this project, the Supercluster is bringing together partners from all across the country to find innovative solutions to today’s challenges and make our food and beverage supply chain stronger and safer.”
The FCI-Canada Project will be led by McGill Centre for the Convergence of Health and Economics with a national consortium of Food and Beverage Canada, CTAQ, Food & Beverage Atlantic, Food and Beverage Ontario, Food & Beverage Manitoba, BC Food & Beverage, Bivizio, and the University of Ottawa. These organizations are together investing $500,000 into the project, with Protein Industries Canada investing $2.1 million, for a total project value of $2.7 million.
The platform will hopefully help the Canadian plant-based food, feed and ingredients sector improve its international competitiveness by allowing companies to respond collaboratively and more easily to shifts in consumer demand. This will lead to the development of new plant-based protein ingredients and products, providing consumers around the world with more choices that align with their values, lifestyles and nutrition needs.
“We believe this project demonstrates the value of Canadian industry partners working together toward a common goal – ensuring the strength and the resilience of Canada’s food sector,” Food and Beverage Canada CEO Kathleen Sullivan said. “This platform, which will serve the interests of Canada’s food and beverage manufacturing sector from coast to coast, confirms the value of the provincial associations forming Food and Beverage Canada.”