Food Innovation

Growing and diversifying Alberta’s food industry

Alberta has a rich agriculture industry, which produces a variety of crops and livestock products that can be processed into ingredients, food products, beverages, functional foods, and natural health products. Food processing businesses had sales of $12.6 billion in 2013, [Source: Alberta Agriculture] an economic contribution to the manufacturing sector surpassed only by the chemical and refined petroleum products industries.

New food ingredients, food products, beverages, functional foods and natural health products

Alberta Innovates is committed to investing in research and innovation that results in new food products that are competitive in the domestic and global marketplace, respond to consumer demand, add value to commodities, and promote wellness and/or prevent chronic diseases such as diabetes or cardiovascular disease.

Food Safety – technologies, products and processes to control food-borne pathogens

Alberta Innovates invests in research and innovation that contributes to better detection and intervention strategies that reduce pathogenic E. coliSalmonella spp., Listeria spp., and Campylobacter spp. in Alberta livestock, crops, and food and beverage products. We also support research leading to new food safety policies and enhanced consumer confidence and market access.


For a listing of our research projects focused on food innovation, view the summary excel spreadsheet at Project Investments by Fiscal Year or visit our BioLINK research project database for specific projects.

  1. EColi detection device: supported by AI, a U of A research team, led by Drs McMullen and Pilarski, are developing a mobile device to quickly detect the presence of EColi within one shift in a meat production plant.  Read abstracts and reports on BioLINK for project BIO-13-003 and BIO-14-011. Watch Dr. McMullen’s video presentation, Hello E.coli, Are You There?


  1. Alberta Innovates Food Innovation Plan 2014-17: developed by Alberta Innovates Bio Solutions, the Alberta Innovates Food Innovation Plan 2014-17 is a guide to focus Alberta Innovates future food and beverage research and innovation investments.
  2. Alberta Unbound: Research and Innovation Opportunities in Alberta’s Food Sector (October 2013): commissioned by Alberta Innovates (then AI-Bio Solutions) to help guide its business activities in food innovation, the Conference Board of Canada has conducted a comprehensive assessment of Alberta’s food innovation potential. The report outlines food innovation and industry trends, their alignment to domestic and global market opportunities, and provides advice on implementing strategies and addressing challenges.