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Growing the food sector: UK-Canada partnership to yield greater innovation

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Growing the food sector: UK-Canada partnership to yield greater innovation

Growing the food sector: UK-Canada partnership to yield greater innovation
June 21
09:31 2023
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Innovate UK, the UK’s national innovation agency, has announced a new bilateral partnership with Protein Industries Canada (PIC), looking to develop greater connections between the food sectors in both countries as the drive for net zero and sustainable food chains intensify.

UK Science Minister George Freeman was in Ottawa recently meeting Canada’s Minister of Science, Innovation and Industry, Francois-Phillipe Champagne, to agree deeper collaboration on science and innovation between the two countries. One such area of collaboration will see Innovate UK and PIC work together to advance innovation in plant-based foods.

The UK and Canadian food industries have a number of elements that encourage collaborative and complementary working, particularly within the protein space. With Canada’s substantial plant-based protein production enabling UK companies to obtain the ingredients they need to develop healthy and sustainable foods, there are real opportunities to build a resilient market suitable for attracting further research and investment.

As part of the partnership, both bodies will work to introduce innovators from across each country’s food sector, with the aim of creating new partnerships, collaboration and knowledge-sharing. By bringing together mutually beneficial connections, the partnership will support work to boost access to new technology, processes, ingredients, markets, customers and areas for further research.

Commenting on Innovate UK’s role in the partnership, Dr Katrina Hayter, Executive Director, Healthy Living and Agriculture Domain at Innovate UK, said: “Our vision is to enable people to live longer, healthier lives and we can achieve this by transforming our food system into one that is more productive, sustainable and resilient. Having the opportunity to learn and collaborate with counterparts in Canada is vital for ensuring that technology, practices and sustainability benefits continue to develop, and this partnership represents a landmark moment in bringing the expertise of both nations together in the plant-based foods space. We look forward to supporting new connections and collaborations as the partnership develops, to drive the development and adoption of new technologies across the sector, and enabling the transition to net zero food systems.”

On the international connection itself, David Golding, Head of Global Innovation at Innovate UK, added:“There is a very strong and growing science and innovation relationship between Canada and the UK. By collaborating and leveraging complementary strengths, knowledge, and skills we can better seize global opportunities, drive economic growth, and solve some of the major challenges facing society today and into the future. Innovate UK and Proteins Industries Canada working together will enable businesses from both countries to collaborate through R&D projects, helping them to accelerate their growth.”

CEO of Protein Industries Canada Bill Greuel commented: “We are excited to work with Innovate UK to create new partnerships and further advance innovation in plant-based food, feed, ingredients and co-products. As Canada develops our national ecosystem, we are eager to work with like-minded countries who share our commitment to growing the plant-based food sector. Doing so will help our countries improve environmental and human health, while also supporting economies of the future by creating jobs and increasing investment.”

As part of the partnership’s initial activities, a webinar was held on 7th June 2023 to outline the opportunities and make initial introductions between companies and stakeholders from both sides. In September, a delegation from across the UK food sector will travel to attend PIC’s Conference and AGM, with expressions of interest now open, before a reciprocal event will be held in the UK later in the month.

The partnership is looking to provide a joint funding opportunity later in 2023, with further details to be announced. For those interested in finding out more information about the partnership and how they can be involved, more details can be found here.

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