Report on Innovation in Manitoba’s Food Processing Industry

June 9, 2015

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Brandon, MB – The Rural Development Institute (RDI) at Brandon University (BU) has released a report into the growth opportunities from innovation in the bulk food processing industry in Manitoba. This research fills an important gap in understanding how innovation is achieved in this industry.

RDI conducted case studies into three diverse processing companies (Canadian Prairie Garden, Richardson Milling and Shape Foods), their associated supply chains and innovation partners. Each case study described the company, industry and supply chain; examining the properties of past and projected future innovations.

Dr. Heather Duncan, Acting Vice-President (Academic & Provost) says, “This report provides evidence of the importance of scientific research in assisting and fostering rural innovation. RDI plays an important role as a partner in understanding how this innovation is achieved.”

The study revealed how diverse and numerous were the companies’ innovations and underscored the advantage of partnerships. All three ingredient companies work closely with their customers and consultants to develop a range of new consumer products. The entire industry supply chain, including producers, processors, manufacturers and researchers, collaborate to determine and promote the health benefits of flax (Shape Foods) and oats (Richardson Milling). The research also revealed how innovations often do not occur in isolation; rather one innovation leads to another. For instance, a new process leads to a new ingredient, giving a new consumer product that needs new marketing.

“The report provides a good benchmark for our company to measure itself against in the future,” says Kelly Beaulieu, Chief Operating Officer of Canadian Prairie Garden Puree Products.

“I found the report created an opportunity for our company management to review our standard operating procedures and the basis for many of our in-house activities and our mission statement.”

Funded by Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development (MAFRD), this research was key to unraveling some of the complexities of the case studies innovation initiatives, which signals for importance for ongoing investments in such research. Accordingly, RDI is continuing the research by undertaking several more case studies.

Brandon University, founded in 1899, promotes excellence in teaching, research, and scholarship, and educates students so that they can make a meaningful difference as engaged citizens and leaders.

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For more information, please contact:

Dr. William Ashton
RDI Director
204.571.8513
AshtonW@BrandonU.ca

Dr. Gillian Richards
RDI Project Lead
204.571.8554
RichardsGi@BrandonU.ca