Feeding Our Curiosity - Agri-Food Asset Map

An analysis of Ontario's R&D excellence and commercialization capacity in food processing

Introduction

With competitive costs, an innovative research climate, and easy access to ingredients and global markets Ontario's agri-food industry has emerged as a leading North American hub for world-class business in food processing.

The Agri-Food Asset Map highlights Ontario's agri-food strengths and provides an overview of the cutting-edge research, industry research collaborations, food and agriculture resources, unique commercialization facilities and government supports in place to drive the growth of food processing, and to ensure Ontario's continued competitive advantage in this key sector.

A family buying groceries in a supermarket

Executive Summary

Various factors converge to give Ontario its competitive advantage in the agri-food sector. The province boasts rich agricultural lands that produce more than 200 agricultural commodities - a diversity unmatched in most parts of the world. Ontario's extensive transportation networks help speed just-in-time deliveries and connect the province with markets in North America and around the globe. Innovation costs and business taxes are low, and the province is home to an exceptional workforce that is well-educated, skilled and ethnically diverse.

With manufacturing revenue totaling $34 billion annually, Ontario's food and beverage processing sector is one of North America's largest and most significant. Approximately 3,200 food and beverage businesses are registered in Ontario, including multinationals, home-grown giants and successful niche-driven businesses that have recognized the tremendous advantages of doing business here.

Ontario food and beverage suppliers have an excellent reputation for flexibility and customer-focused service, and have proven experience with custom production runs. The ability to serve specialty markets, combined with the province's agricultural and multicultural diversity, has positioned Ontario for success in key growth food processing markets, such as private label brands and healthy and ethnic foods.

International buyers continually choose to source products from Ontario suppliers, who are known for being ahead of the curve with food trends. Ontario agriculture and research are also innovative in supporting alternative crops, such as ginseng, and new products, such as omega-3 eggs, for emerging and growing markets.

Ontario's world-leading and extensive network of universities and colleges provides state-of-the-art food and nutrition research programs. Scientists here are undertaking groundbreaking research into food science and nutritional sciences, and exploring topics such as food nanostructure, functional foods and food safety, to name just a few.

Ontario also possesses unique commercialization facilities and industry networks that assist researchers and food and beverage manufacturers in bringing innovative agri-food products to market.

Ontario is eager to have food processing companies invest here. The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) can help grow your business investment (web page or email).

Capitalizing on the Ontario Advantage

The Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation exists to build and sustain a culture of innovation in the province. Why innovate in Ontario?

  • World-leading research
  • Highly competitive R&D cost reductions through programs and tax incentives
  • A diverse and highly educated workforce
  • Access to a massive North American supply chain and market
  • A commitment to innovation

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For more information:
E-mail: research.omafra@ontario.ca
Author: Barb Dillingham, Research Analyst/RIB
Creation Date: 17 February 2011
Last Reviewed: 7 February 2015