Bakers Journal

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Ontario’s report card on innovation


February 16, 2016
By Laura Aiken

Guelph, ON – Food and Beverage Ontario (FBO) has released two reports on innovation in the Ontario food and beverage processing industry. Reports have indicated that there are several value-creating physical and on-line innovation resources available in Ontario to processor businesses across the province, but coordination and communication continue to be key to uptake.

“At FBO we have been assessing the current innovation landscape in detail. What we have learned is that there are a number of innovation assets in place for industry – Food Starter, Ontario Agri-Food Venture Centre, Food Innovation & Research Studio at George Brown and Niagara College’s Canadian Food and Wine Institute to name a few. These assets offer varied services and resources from product development through to commercial production scale up,” said Al Brezina, FBO’s innovation director, in a news release.

Complementary on-line innovation resources are also available and are largely concerned with information on government programs and funding and advisory services for businesses.

Report highlights include:

·       Processors cite product innovation as their top innovation priority, however they rank innovation technology and methods as the overall industry priority.

·       The greatest challenge limiting a company’s ability to innovate was identified by over 50 per cent of the respondents as financial resources and time.

·       Companies that seek out external support equally prefer both in-person contact and websites.

·       Processors are asking for innovation resources to be better coordinated, easy to navigate and to access.

“We have been working hard for the last year mapping resources and building a provincial innovation network with key stakeholders,” said Norm Beal, CEO, Food and Beverage Ontario, in a news release. “Now it’s time for FBO to implement a coordinated plan that will make it easy for Ontario’s 3,000 plus processor businesses to locate exactly the innovation support they need to be more competitive.”

The reports commissioned by Food and Beverage Ontario and supported in part by Growing Forward 2, a provincial-territorial-federal initiative, can be viewed by following these links:  Innovation Information Resources: Ontario Food and Beverage Sector, MNP  and Innovation Program Research, Hill + Knowlton Strategies

Food and Beverage Ontario is a not-for-profit, leadership organization advancing the interests of Ontario’s food and beverage processors.