The Saskatchewan Food Industry Development Centre has expanded its operations at the University of Saskatchewan campus in Saskatoon.
The food centre officially opened a new agri-food innovation centre that contains new lab space, a pilot plant for product and process development and expanded capacity for pulse and cereal processing.
The new 43,000 sq. foot expansion will include a dedicated multi-tenant food processing incubator, expanded extrusion and drying capabilities and new fermentation technologies.
According to the Saskatchewan government, the province’s value-added food processing sector has seen significant growth during the last decade and now includes 300 companies that export $4 billion worth of goods annually and employ 5,000 people.
“Over the last decade, Saskatchewan has been either the number one or number two agri-food exporter among the provinces, and the Food Centre helps us diversify what we export,” said former Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall, who attended a Jan. 25 grand opening in Saskatoon.
“This expansion will mean the development of even more products, the creation of more jobs and the further diversification of our economy.”
“The new agri-food innovation centre will broaden the capabilities of the current food centre and open new opportunities for Saskatchewan’s agri-food sector,” added food centre president Dan Prefontaine.
“It will assist Saskatchewan producers and processors to bridge the gap from development to commercialization and introduce higher value-added agricultural products into the global marketplace.”
Total investment in the new innovation centre is pegged at $17.5 million, including $9 million through the Growing Forward 2 federal-provincial agricultural policy framework and $4.35 million from Western Economic Diversification Canada.
Additional support came from SaskPulse, SaskCanola, the Food Centre’s capital reserve and other industry organizations.