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(Canadian Meat Business) The Alliance of Ontario Food Processors (AOFP) released a new report October 2013, titled Ontario’s Food and Beverage Processing Industry Strategy – The New Engine of Ontario’s Economy, and a five-year action plan for the Ontario food and beverage processing industry.

“For too long, the food and beverage processing industry has been Ontario’s best kept secret,” AOFP chair Norm Beal said in a release. “This sector directly employs 125,000 people, generates $39 billion in revenue annually and produces high quality, safe food for Ontarians. Unlike other manufacturing sectors which are forecasting declines, we are making a commitment to add another 60,000 plus jobs to the economy and generate $70 billion by 2020.”

The group worked directly with small to large processors across the province in developing the report, which identifies four major recommendations necessary to supporting a dynamic and innovative business climate:

Establish a Food and Beverage Innovation Centre: Connect capacity and infrastructure already available in the province and add new infrastructure where needed to provide processor businesses with market development and business resources.

Raise the Profile of Ontario Food and Drink: Strengthen Ontario’s “brand” to further expand domestic markets and better leverage opportunities in emerging and developed export markets.

Develop Talent and a Future in Food: Raise awareness of the processing sector as an attractive job destination and support the places and people necessary to develop talent.

Simplify and Modernize Regulations: Better align industry and government for regulation development and reform.

The alliance is calling for a government/industry partnership to refine implementation plans including costing, timelines and delivery structures for each of the four recommendations by February 2014.

“This industry has the people, the history and the infrastructure to become Ontario’s leading manufacturing sector,” stated OAFP executive director Steve Peters. “We heard the challenge from this government on growing the sector and have responded with four areas for strategic investment. We now look forward to making it happen.”

The full report can be downloaded at