Shelley King, MSc, MBA
CEO, Natural Products Canada
Technological advancements and the demand for sustainable and healthy options have converged to create unprecedented opportunities for Canadian agriculture.
Canada has a long-standing global reputation as an agricultural powerhouse. Recent advancements in technology and the growing demand for sustainable and healthy options have converged to create unprecedented opportunities for Canadian agriculture — and the world is taking note.
“We work with multinational corporations right around the globe,” says Shelley King, CEO of Natural Products Canada (NPC). “It’s our privilege to introduce them to Canadian companies and researchers who are developing the products and technologies they’re looking for.”
Canada’s agricultural innovation is creating diverse products, including nutritious options for Canadians, sustainable protein ingredients for pets and production animals, and planet-friendly plastics made from food waste. Photos courtesy of Natural Products Canada.
Not your grandparents’ agriculture
From coast to coast to coast, entrepreneurs are contributing innovative products, technologies, and solutions across the broad spectrum of the agricultural industry — from everything that goes into growing and raising crops and animals to the plethora of value-added products that come out of the other side. From raising insects to converting crop waste into bioplastics, Canada’s agricultural sector is more diverse and technologically advanced than ever.
A different approach to supporting innovation
NPC has the unique experience of working almost exclusively with innovators in and around the agriculture scene. Through a comprehensive and effective suite of programs, investment capital, advice, and networks, NPC supports Canadian startups, small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and research institutes in the critical stages of development and commercialization.
Addressing the “valley of death”
A unique aspect of NPC is its focus on the capital requirements of early-stage companies. Often referred to as “the valley of death,” innovative businesses can face a financing gap between the public funds available for research and development and the private capital that’s often reserved for companies with strong balance sheets. NPC’s focus on helping companies become investment-ready, attracting investors to the opportunities, and actually investing in companies — 13 so far — has made a strong impact on the Canadian agricultural innovation scene.
It takes a village
NPC has also cultivated a cluster of investors, corporations, and industry experts — currently over 2,500 strong — all interested in Canada’s innovation opportunities. With partners across the country and around the world, they’re able to leverage the expertise, programs, capital, and industry intel that their clients and members need.
“The opportunity is huge,” says King. “If we all work together, Canada will reap the rewards of this agricultural revolution for generations to come.”
10 Canadian Companies That Boost Sustainable Food Production
CanBiocin’s unique, species-specific probiotics help production animals like poultry stay healthy, naturally.
Entomo Farms is one of the largest producers of crickets in North America, which it turns into protein powder and other products.
Future Fields’ customized growth media for cellular agriculture (growing food from cells) offers cost-effective, scalable solutions.
The Harvest Hub uses proprietary indoor growing technology to create a sustainable and secure food supply.
Healthy Cow’s products address the health issues for dairy cattle in the critical 100-day transition period around calving.
Oberland Agriscience converts organic waste into food for black soldier fly larvae, which are a nutritious protein ingredient for pets, poultry, and fish.
NovoBind Livestock Therapeutics is developing natural solutions to protect livestock against pathogenic bacteria, viruses, and parasites without the use of antibiotics.
Soileos is a plant-based fertilizer made from upcycled crop residues. The result is higher yields and increased nutrient densities.
Swirltex uses a unique membrane system for water treatment in a range of applications, including agricultural settings. This saves water resources and prevents harmful chemicals from leaching into soil or plants.
10 Canadian Companies Creating Innovative Products from Agricultural Outputs
Alberta Rhodiola Rosea Growers Organization (ARRGO) creates a sustainable, traceable source of rhodiola rosea, a plant that’s popular in natural health products for its stress-reducing properties.
Bast Fibre Tech uses hemp to create biodegradable, compostable fibres for use in disposable wipes and other personal care products.
Botaneco has developed a technique to extract protein from canola that shows excellent results as a feed for farmed salmon.
Chinova Bioworks’ natural preservative, made from mushrooms, meets consumer demand for clean-label, natural ingredients.
Oneka uses plants and herbs grown on its organic farm to produce natural personal care and beauty products.
Winecrush uses a byproduct from the wine industry to create a natural flavour enhancer that reduces the need for salt in food products such as plant-based burgers.
YoFiit’s nutritious products include Mylk10, a dairy alternative made from chickpeas that has 10 times the protein of other plant-based milks.