Growing Forward 2
New: GF2 Results Spotlight
The GF2 Results Spotlight below shows some of the ways
that food processors have improved their business with GF2
funding. The featured results will be updated regularly and each
spotlight will focus on new results within one GF2 area
Spotlight: Labour Productivity Enhancement
Over $30 million has been committed to food processors
to invest in labour productivity enhancements. These projects (some
in progress and some completed) include:
- 319 projects to install technology, equipment,
and software systems upgrades
- 82 projects for assessments, audits, planning,
and skills development and training1
As processors begin to complete and report on more of these projects,
more results become available. Below are results that processors
have achieved with GF2 funding (note: results below represent
only a subset of the total completed projects2):
Expanding Markets, Increasing Productivity, Managing Risks
How Growing Forward 2 Has Helped Ontario Processors Reach Their
Over the last five years, Growing Forward 2 (GF2) has driven positive
change and fostered the growth of Ontario's agri-food and agricultural
sector. Processors have used GF2 funding to complete assessments,
audits, plans, and training, and to innovate and modernize their
practices, equipment, and operations.
Food and beverage processors across Ontario have improved their
businesses in various ways with GF2 funding. These include enhancements
in: research and innovation, assurance systems, labour productivity,
environment and climate change adaptation, and market development.
These GF2 projects have helped processors and the sector expand
markets, increase productivity, and manage risks.
Research and Innovation
GF2 has helped to accelerate the pace of innovation and to commercialize
these innovations, moving them into markets. This was achieved by
building collaborations and networks, conducting applied research
and knowledge transfer, providing commercialization assistance,
and targeting support to industry innovations and early adopters.
These activities have fostered a more competitive agri-food sector.
Amazing Gains with GF2 Support
The Agri-Technology Commercialization Centre - a hub of specialized
industry knowledge and market expertise - has helped agri-food businesses
start-up, scale-up, and gain a competitive edge with GF2 funding.
The centre has supported more than 540 agri-technology entrepreneurs
Ontario Agri-Food Technologies (OAFT) is part of the centre's cluster
and has helped Amazing Grains Inc. compete globally and develop
new markets for their allergen-free products. OAFT has mentored
and provided rapid response program assistance to Amazing Grains
since their inception in 2014.
Since then, Amazing Grains has gained global recognition as an
innovative, novel, and commercially viable product when they won
the international 2016 Start-up Ingredient of the Year award. GF2
has helped Amazing Grains expand their markets outside of Ontario,
both in other provinces and other countries, and sign deals with
several large North American retailers.
"Amazing Grains markets both industrial mixes (e.g. ItalPasta,
ODoughs, and others), as well as finished goods retail products
in Canada and the USA (eg. Trader Joe's and Costco).
The Rapid Response program from OAFT has successfully been used
for presentations outside of Canada which has been of great benefit
to our company. In addition to getting our industrial and retail
mixes made in Ontario, we use multiple Ontario manufacturers to
produce a wide variety of foods, snacks and soon medicinal/functional
foods. We are planning a further expansion into the USA as well
as India and the Far East in 2018. We look forward to OAFT's continued
support to assist us in the further growth of our business."
- Andrew Stewart, Managing Partner, Amazing Grains
Effective assurance systems help strengthen food safety and keep
Ontario's food and beverage companies competitive. Increasingly,
buyers and markets are demanding that processors meet national/international
standards and codes of practices. GF2 provided processors with the
tools to understand and implement traceability and food safety practices
to expand markets and reduce risks.
Sure-fire Way to Ensure Assurance
GF2 helped build assurance system capacity by providing food safety
and traceability training, at no cost, to processors at various
locations across the province. More than 30 full-day, in-class workshops
were delivered to 425 participants, including processor businesses
of varying size and commodity, by NSF International (formerly known
as Guelph Food Technology Centre).
The training significantly increased processors' awareness and
understanding of good manufacturing practices, Hazard Analysis Critical
Control Point programs, and how to enhance or leverage existing
traceability systems. 99 per cent of participants reported increased
knowledge. The workshops also encouraged the adoption of food safety
best practices and traceability systems. 88 per cent of participants
said the knowledge gained will influence their business decisions
in the next one to two years, and 92 per cent intend to implement
what they learned within their business.
"I appreciated the thorough explanations on how to improve
food safety and quality while reducing costs and improving efficiency
of production. Being able to learn on a personal level about how
to use HACCP -it was clear and very easy for staff and management
- Ontario food processor course participant
Labour Productivity Enhancement
Under GF2, processors improved their planning related to resource
use, supply chain optimization, and production efficiencies. They
also made improvements such as increasing automation and streamlining
processes and procedures. As a result, processors improved productivity,
reduced waste and costs associated with labour and logistics, and
expanded their share of global and domestic markets.
Spreading Efficiencies in the Jam Business
Crofters Food Ltd. tapped into GF2 funding to transform production
of organic fruit spreads at their Parry Sound facility. They installed
robotic case picking equipment that automated their order picking
process and uses scanning technology to read product codes and automatically
report information into their database.
Efficiencies gained by robotic picking of orders in full pallet
layers-instead of individual cases by hand- significantly reduced
labour costs per unit of production, shortened pick cycle times,
and helped reduce packaging waste and costs. Eliminating cardboard
mastercases reduced packaging costs by $0.36 per case, resulting
in an increase of annual savings of over $136,700. The new equipment
has also strengthened the company's food safety and traceability
system, which has increased customer trust and enabled Crofters
to meet buyer requirements and be more competitive in export markets.
Crofters now has greater ability to access new markets in Japan
and Europe, and expand and retain existing markets in Ontario, the
U.S., Latin America, and others in the Asia-Pacific region.
"The case picking KUKA robot with custom QR code traceability
platform helps Crofters to speed up the order fulfillment process,
while assuring that only the correct product is picked and automatically
tracing all lot number back to the company's main IT platform. It
assures 100% traceability for mixed flavour orders, required by
the GFSI and as demanded by the leading retailers in the world.
GF2 funding helped Crofters offer more flexible shipping quantities
and formats to better service our private label customers and assure
100 per cent traceability of mixed flavour pallets to manage possible
Overall, the GF2 funding helped Crofters increase production efficiencies
to meet the growth demand of the natural and conventional food markets
in North America where the Crofters brand is growing by 8 per cent
annually, while expanding into new export markets like Japan.
- Gerhard Latka, President, Crofters Food Ltd.
Preserving Productivity by the Jar
Matt & Steve's used GF2 funding to improve labour productivity
and increase production of their pickled garnish product line in
Mississauga. They completed a manufacturing audit to identify process
improvements, and then implemented the audit's recommendations.
They improved productivity with automated equipment, completed system
integration, adopted lean manufacturing processes, and optimized
As a result, Matt & Steve's reduced labour costs by 17 per
cent and increased production output by 43 per cent. Up-time at
the labeling and capping stations increased by more than five per
cent. There are now fewer line stoppages and half the amount of
production waste per shift. These improvements helped Matt &
Steve's meet growing customer demand and grow markets across North
America. These expanded markets resulted in 21-30 per cent incremental
new sales for the company.
"The GF2 program has helped us become competitive in a global
market by providing assistance in the areas of production efficiencies
and volume output. We also want to thank the OMAFRA staff we worked
with through GF2, they were helpful and have been a notable ingredient
in the recipe for our success over the last 3 years."
- Matt Larochelle, Owner, Matt and Steve's
Environment and Climate Change Adaptation
Environmental challenges can impact the sustainability and profitability
of the industry. GF2 helped processors better understand environmental
risks and plan for and implement best practices, technologies, and
innovative projects. Businesses are now able to use water, energy,
and other inputs more efficiently. This has helped processors improve
their overall operational, economic, and environmental performance.
Demonstrating Good Water Management
With GF2 funding, the BLOOM Centre for Sustainability has helped
processors better understand and implement effective water management
solutions. BLOOM conducted over twelve pilot projects at processing
facilities to demonstrate water related technologies. A number of
pilot projects involved a wastewater sensor technology. These demonstrations
showed food and beverage processors how to better manage wastewater
composition, reduce wastewater volume and strength, and collect
real-time measurements to optimize their processes.
BLOOM has also developed comprehensive toolkits that have helped
breweries and wineries learn more about and implement water management
best practices. These online platforms, which include videos, case
studies, and how-to guides, received Water's Next Awards, the only
national award to honour leadership across the entire water sector.
The Science of Successful Spinach
Ippolito Fruit and Produce Ltd. found an innovative way to reduce
food waste and improve resource management with GF2 funding. The
processing plant modernized their produce sorting capabilities by
replacing the use of cameras with chemical imaging technology. This
chemical inspection process measures quantity and quality of various
naturally occurring plant elements to provide new and accurate information
about a product's quality, health, and projected shelf life. The
project also involved developing technology to physically separate
product based on identified spectral data, as well as employee training
The knowledge gained from the use of this technology allows Ippolito
to have a better understanding of the relationship between agricultural
dynamics and produce quality. The project has resulted in more accurate
sorting/grading, improved shelf life prediction, a significant reduction
in food waste, increased yield recovery to edible quality, and increased
efficiencies to support their extensive line of fresh and packaged
GF2 has helped processors assess and understand markets and marketing
opportunities. It has helped them plan marketing approaches, implement
marketing plans, meet industry standards or practices, and develop
new products and processes. These activities have helped processors
access new or expanded sales channels within domestic and international
markets, and increase their sales.
Nothing Cheesy About New Growth
With support from GF2, Mariposa Dairy has developed and expanded
markets for their award-winning goat and sheep cheeses. The Kawartha
Lakes processor built state-of-the-art aging rooms to improve the
quality of its artisan cheese products. This has led to an increase
in sales, new customers, and expanded distribution. The company
modernized technologies to increase processing efficiency and quality
control capabilities, and reduce production costs. Mariposa also
created new jobs and purchased new equipment to expand their product
offering of frozen goat cheese.
Upon completing these projects, Mariposa implemented a new marketing
strategy to respond to growing demand in foreign markets. Mariposa
generated new sales leads, established new sales contacts, and identified
new customers and buyers. The company was able to retain domestic
markets which yielded annualized incremental new sales of 50 per
cent. They expanded existing U.S. markets and accessed new international
markets, including Mexico and Europe.
"GF2 assisted Mariposa with the acquisition of
a new flow divider to manufacture frozen product, which resulted
in successfully allowing our company entry into multiple new markets.
GF2 also assisted Mariposa to acquire vision inspection equipment,
to help address one of the major issues for a fast-growing food
processing company in Ontario, ensuring consistent product quality
from start to end of high-volume production."
- Bruce VandenBerg, Owner / GM, Mariposa Dairy
Ontario All Around the World
GF2 invested in a trade and investment strategy that has promoted
and built awareness of Ontario and Canada as a preferred location
for foreign investment.
Agri-food trade advisors were recruited to work in India, China,
Europe, and the U.S. These advisors provided Ontario food and beverage
companies with access to enhanced global market knowledge and buyer
networks. They facilitated matchmaking opportunities, market entry,
and investment attraction.
These activities have helped Ontario manufacturers begin to export
or expand into global markets. For example, Exim Promotion, a Toronto-based
exporter, has launched products on Amazon India. Martin's Family
Fruit Farm has begun exporting small-sized Red Delicious apples
to India. Toronto-based Ryding Regency Meat Packers is now exporting
beef to Shanghai and Canada H2O, an Ontario-based water company,
has new distributors in China.
1 Funds committed and projects approved
(completed and in progress) as of September 2016.
2 Results figures represent processor
labour productivity enhancement implementation projects that reported
the respective result as of August 2016, as a percentage of the
number of respondents for each respective question. The number of
respondents for each respective question is as follows: 134 for
reduced labour costs, 113 for product quality, 112 for reduced waste,
128 for customer requirements, 114 for downtime, 116 for market
access, 141 for market expansion, 135 for market retention, and
140 for sales. Numbers were adjusted for any pre-requisite question
discrepancies as applicable and exclude answers that were not applicable
and could not be interpreted.
Note: While the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture,
Food and Rural Affairs ('Ontario') endeavors to isolate and remove
invalid data elements from the data, Ontario makes no representations
or warranties about the completeness, accuracy or reliability of
the data or its suitability for any given purpose. Reliance on the
data is strictly at the user's own risk. Ontario will not accept
liability for any loss or damage arising out of the use of this
data. The information expressed on this webpage is solely that of
the respective contributors and does not necessarily represent the
views of the Government of Canada.