Province Funding Numerous Food-Related Projects

Published August 16, 2019 at 4:51 am


More Mississaugans are becoming conscious of the food and products they buy, and what effects they have on the environment.

Now, the government is looking to make new products that don’t harm the environment and bring in new market opportunities.

On Thursday (August 15), the province announced its plans to create new bioproducts with agri-food research.

The $1.2 million agri-food research investment hopes also to strengthen the province’s economy and boost innovation in the agri-food sector by creating agricultural-based products and identifying diverse market opportunities locally and globally.

“This research looks at new bioproducts, technologies, markets and policies to make the agri-food sector more sustainable and profitable,” said Ernie Hardeman, the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “This will help create economic, environmental and energy opportunities for farmers, food processors, greenhouses and consumers while strengthening and diversifying our agri-food sector.”

These projects are part of the province’s Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance annual investment of $5.8 million.

Through the OAFIA, funding will help researchers create new products, food ingredients, market opportunities and technology to reduce waste.

An example of one project aims to develop and market biodegradable or compostable straws made from natural fibre using Ontario-grown miscanthus grass and corn stover. It is anticipated the material used for the straws could later be used in other everyday single-use items such as cutlery and food containers.

Another project will use 3D printing to make lightweight, stable and sustainable biomedical and automotive products. Products such as prosthetics and car door latch handles will be developed using agricultural residues and recycled plastic.

Other research projects include:

  • Creating renewable biochemical products from poultry waste such as lactic acid used to manufacture bioplastics, food flavours, pharmaceuticals and personal care products. 
  • Adding value to locally-grown beans by identifying novel food uses for new products, such as bakery products with unique properties and high-value food ingredients from bean processing by-products.
  • Researching renewable energy technologies from greenhouse vegetable waste. 

“As Canada’s food university, the University of Guelph is committed to research that powers the agri-food sector into the future, using our discoveries to fuel unique and sustainable innovations with agricultural roots,” said Malcolm Campbell, the Vice-President of Research. “With this OMAFRA support, the University of Guelph researchers will enable Ontario’s businesses to create world-leading, renewable, agricultural-sourced products for Canadians and the world.”

In 2018, Ontario’s agri-food industry contributed $47.7 billion in GDP to the provincial economy, an increase of 2.4 per cent from 2017.

You can learn more about the OAFIA here.

What do you think of these planned projects?

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