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FCL invests $500K to help bring Sask. food to Western Canadian market

By Andrew Santo

October 4, 2019

Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL) is celebrating Agriculture Month in Saskatchewan with support for the growing food manufacturing industry in the province.

FCL is providing $500,000 towards the Saskatchewan Food Industry Development Centre’s (Food Centre) expansion project, which will increase value-added processing, extrusion capacity and research and development. That means more locally grown food can be processed at the Food Centre and then sold by local co-ops across Western Canada.

“Co-op has built strong relationships with ag producers and food production companies, working directly with them every day to deliver the local products that are valued by co-op members and customers,” said Ron Healey, FCL’s Vice-President of Ag and Consumer Business.

“We’re unique because we’re involved in the food production industry from start to finish, from farm to fork. With investments like the one today, we’re helping create economic growth and delivering Saskatchewan products to co-op members and customers right across Western Canada.”

The estimated $7.5 million project will include new equipment – including a new bottling line and pasteurization system for canning low-acid foods, which isn’t known to be commercially available currently in Western Canada – and construction of more processing space.

“FCL’s contribution will help provide collaboration opportunities with local producers and will result in the expansion of agricultural production, and food processing labour and revenue in the province,” said Food Centre President Dan Prefontaine. “The partnership is part of a value-chain project connecting growers to manufacturing to retailers, with long-term benefits to the fruit and vegetable industry.”

Among the first products in development for the new equipment is a line of local pickles, a collaboration between FCL and the Prairie Fresh Food Corporation.

FCL is proud to invest in innovative opportunities that benefit the Co-operative Retailing System (CRS) – the network of FCL and more than 170 local co-ops across Western Canada. 

“You only have to look at the shelves of Co-op stores to see how many small food producers are already getting their start through Co-op,” said Healey. “It’s an ideal partnership—they’re creating new, innovative local products that we’re making accessible to Western Canadians.”