A Food Development Centre is a food science research facility that helps companies to develop, refine, and commercialize their products. They offer a wide range of food science support to industry.
recipe development and cost reduction
functional ingredients to help with product properties
food safety: formulation, processing, shelf life
process development and review
label and nutrition panel, product claim regulatory guidance
packaging sourcing and guidance
consumer taste testing research (aka sensory analysis)
small scale production (varies by location)
funding leads and guidance
business guidance (market research, branding, etc.)
When looking for a Food Development Centre, first check out Tech Access Canada.
Tech Access Canada: Federally funded organization that supports 60 Innovation Centres across Canada. 7 of these Tech Access Centres are focused on food innovation. TAC's are affiliated with a college. There may be funding opportunities ("Interactive Visits") and options to have students work on projects to help budget.
More options not part of the TAC system:
Guelph Food Innovation Centre:https://www.foodscienceinnovation.ca/
Conestoga College Institute of Food Processing and Tech: https://www.conestogac.on.ca/research/applied-research/centres/ifpt
NAIT Centre for Culinary Innovation: https://www.nait.ca/applied-research/about/centres/centre-for-culinary-innovation
Sask Food Centre: https://foodcentre.sk.ca/
Perennia (Nova Scotia): https://www.perennia.ca/
Bio Food Tech (PEI): https://www.biofoodtechpei.ca/
Quebec Agrifood Innovation Centre: https://www.cdbq.net/en/
Alberta Food Processing Centre: https://www.alberta.ca/food-processing-development-centre.aspx
NSF Canada (Guelph Ontario): https://www.nsfcanada.ca/
Agriculture Canada Research Centres: https://agriculture.canada.ca/en/science/agriculture-and-agri-food-research-centres , https://profils-profiles.science.gc.ca/en/research-centre/saint-hyacinthe-research-and-development-centre
University of Manitoba: https://umanitoba.ca/richardson-centre-food-technology-research/
Choosing a Food Development Centre close to home has many benefits, but depending on your product and needs, the best option may be further afield. It helps to start by contacting a short list of food centres to understand how they would work on your project. Most centres will customize projects to meet the needs and budget of early stage companies.
Certain locations also offer short term production of product that can be sold to the public. This can be a pathway for prototypes, test market samples, or for gradually scaling up production.
You are invited to reach out to Venturepark Labs team to discuss how to find a good fit for your project and in some cases to receive an introduction to a Food Development Centre you are interested in connecting with.
Written By: Marlis Bens, Venturepark Labs Program Manager