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Food Processing

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The Waterloo-Guelph-Toronto corridor is the largest food manufacturing region in Canada and the third largest in North America. Supported by an advanced transportation and logistics infrastructure, manufacturers here are within one day's drive of over 150 million consumers in the North American market.

With over 100 successful food and beverage processors and distributors, a strong food processing cluster has been established here. Additionally, Waterloo Region is home to Conestoga College's one of a kind Institute of Food Processing Technology.

Waterloo Region has developed a diverse food processing industry including crop production, animal production, snack food, confectionary, bakery, and beverage product manufacturing and distribution.

Culture of Collaboration

Waterloo Region is home to numerous business and technology initiatives which further the development of technologies created within this rich entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Canada's Technology for Food (CTFF) - CTFF bring together industry and academic partners with the goal of identifying challenges and opportunities for improvement. it matches industry partners with a consortium of solution providers to commercialize technology, optimize processes and grow the food industry.

The Institute of Food Processing Technology (IFPT) - Ontario's first and only engineering and technology centre focused on providing leading edge training in the state-of-the-art food and beverage manufacturing facilities with the latest technology in robotics and automation. IFPT's pilot plant incorporates a full scale assembly line mimicking a real-world facility, and develops corporate training based on food processor's requirements.

Centre for Bioengineering & Biotechnology (CBB) The University of Waterloo's CBB does cutting edge research on biomaterials and biomanufacturing innovations, including food safety and sterilization technologies, energy and waste efficiency analysis, ingredient separation and filtration processes, biodegradable packaging, baking, pasteurization and other thermal food processes.

Ontario Agricultural College (OAC) - The nearby OAC, a founding college of the University of Guelph, is recognized as Canada's largest and most renowned agricultural college. OAC's research activities span a broad range of topics from food safety to biotechnology. With regional, national and international Research Centres and Institutes, and Canada Research Chairs, OAC is a primary contributor in the delivery of research, education, laboratory services that ensures the global competitiveness and sustainability of Ontario's agriculture and food system, boasting an annual economic impact that exceeds $1.15 billion.

Water Science Research Institutes

  • The Water Institute facilitates excellence in research, education, and innovation in water science, technology, management, and governance.
  • The Laurier Institute for Water Science focuses on research in three interconnected water-related disciplines hydrological sciences, ecology & biogeochemistry, public policy and management.
  • Southern Ontario Water Consortium was created with the goal of building an integrated platform for water-related research and the development, testing, and demonstration of water and wastewater technologies and services.

Skilled Workforce

  • 65,000 post-secondary students including 24,000 co-operative education students at the University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University and Conestoga College.
  • Highest rate of post-secondary education among the OECD countries.
  • The Institute of Food Processing Technology at Conestoga College is focused on providing leading edge training in a variety of areas including food safety, food processing techniques, electronic instrumentation techniques, automation, robotics, packaging and plant supervision.
  • The nearby Ontario Agriculture College is cultivating 1,900 undergraduates, 750 graduates and 900 diplomas in agricultural and the food industry with specialities in 5 departments: animal and poultry science, food, agricultural and resource economics, food science and plant agriculture

Business Advantages

  • Corporate income tax rate is lower than the G8 and G20 average as well as the U.S.
  • Combined with federal Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) tax incentive program, Ontario's R&D tax program reduces every $100 in R&D spending to about $56, or $38 for SMEs.
  • Proximity to 1,400 local farms acting as a significant supply chain to the regional food manufacturers.
  • Canadian sugar prices are significantly lower than in most developed countries, including the United States and Europe.
  • Abundant access to clean water and several collaborative water science research & innovation platforms such as Southern Ontario Water Consortium and Water Institute University of Waterloo.
  • Growing Forward 2 is a $3 billion investment aimed at encouraging innovation, competitiveness and market development in Canada's agri-food and agri-products sectors.
  • SMART Prosperity Now funding is to provide financial support to Southern Ontario SME manufacturers with up to $75,000 who invest in product and process improvements that will develop and expand global export opportunities and competitiveness.

Fast Facts

  • Partnering with the Alliance of Ontario Food Processors, Conestoga College's Institute of Food Processing Technology offers a comprehensive food safety, health and technical education.
  • Canada's Technology for Food is an incubator that optimizes production and supply chain obstacles for food process in Waterloo Region.
  • South-Western Ontario is the largest food manufacturing region in Canada and third largest in North America.
  • Strengths are in the food processing sectors of poultry, meat packing, confectionary, snack foods and beverage product manufacturing and distribution.
  • More than 1,400 local farms earn at least two times more in farm receipts than the provincial average per acre.

Resource Documents

City of Cambridge: Agriculture and Food Sector - PDF

Conestoga College: Institute of Food Processing Technology

Ontario Food Cluster

Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

Canada's Competitive Advantages - Food (2014)