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Program will help B.C. food processors expand, increase production

December 6, 2023 at 11:46 am  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

B.C. food-processing companies looking to scale up and feed more people are benefiting from a program that is helping them increase their businesses’ productivity and competitiveness by improving their facilities and equipment.

“B.C. food and beverage companies play a major role in both our province’s economy and food security, which is why we’re helping them invest in the equipment and infrastructure they need to be competitive and successful,” said Pam Alexis, Minister of Agriculture and Food. “By supporting B.C. processors, we are ensuring a sustainable food supply as well as economic growth that will benefit our communities.” 

B.C.’s Food Processing Growth Fund is helping companies, such as T-Brothers in Coquitlam and Better Seafood Supply in Victoria, increase their productivity, strengthen competitiveness and gain new economic opportunities.

Founded in 1994, T-Brothers has been supplying authentic Korean staples to B.C. for almost 30 years. The company pioneered the sale and large-scale manufacturing of kimchi in Canada. Today, the Coquitlam-based manufacturer’s products are found in every corner of the country.

Kimchi, Korea’s national dish, is becoming popular beyond its traditional market. To meet growing consumer demand for their product, the company is investing in new equipment. The Province is supporting T-Brothers to purchase automatic washing and packaging machinery to increase efficiency and product output.

“We’ve been bringing the authentic flavours of Korea to British Columbia since 1994 and we’re glad to see more people enjoying this Korean favourite,” said Jeff Mo, CEO of T-Brothers. “Through support from this fund, we are implementing new ways to increase production of our traditionally made kimchi and meet the increasing demand.”

Born and raised on Vancouver Island, Better Seafood Supply’s Gregg Best was accustomed to the fishing-boat life from a young age. Beginning in Duncan as Cowichan Bay Seafood in the 1980s, Better Seafood Supply was born of greater demand in the Victoria area. Since then, it has grown into its storefront Oak Bay Seafood and continued with its mission of providing the finest, sustainably caught seafood to customers, while ensuring fishers get a fair price for their catch.

With its funding, Better Seafood Supply plans to ramp up production of its smoking operations to prepare for the winter season. The new fund is also helping the business grow through the purchase of additional slicers, skinning machines, patty makers and a new vacuum-packaging machine, so more people can enjoy the taste of fresh B.C. seafood.

“Fishing is an integral part of British Columbia’s food landscape and consumers rely on fresh, local catch from its abundant waters,” said Gregg Best, founder of Better Seafood Supply. “With this funding, we will continue to deliver high quality, sustainable, trusted seafood that lives up to our values, as we improve production and packaging to ensure B.C.’s seafood is enjoyed by many more people.”

The Ministry of Agriculture and Food announced the $20 million Food Processing Growth Fund in April 2023. It is delivered by the Investment Agriculture Foundation (IAF).

Quotes:

Jack Dewit, chair, board of directors, Investment Agriculture Foundation of B.C.

“The Food Processing Growth Fund was well received by B.C.’s agrifood sector. IAF received a record-breaking applicant response to the program. We are so pleased to be able to support the agrifood community with the delivery of this much-needed program and the Small Food Processor Scale-up Program.”

James Donaldson, CEO, B.C. Food and Beverage –

“We were very happy to see this funding support for food and beverage processors in B.C. Scaling up is one of the biggest challenges for our industry, so it was great to have this funding available to B.C. companies to help them grow.”

Fin Donnelly, MLA, Coquitlam-Burke Mountain –

“T-Brothers is a great example of the amazing diverse food we offer right here in B.C. As our community and province continues to diversify, it’s important we support our local food producers to scale up in an efficient and sustainable way, while staying true to the multicultural roots of our community.”

Quick Facts:

  • Twelve food processing companies have received approximately $8.4 million to grow and expand their businesses, with more companies and projects yet to receive support from the fund.
  • Additionally, a $2.7-million commitment from the fund went to the B.C. Food and Beverage Association to develop a training curriculum to help B.C. food processors increase their growth, production and efficiency.
  • B.C.’s food and beverage processing sector includes more than 3,400 companies that generated $14.2 billion in sales in 2022.

Learn More:

To learn about the Food Processing Growth Fund, visit: https://iafbc.ca/food-processing-growth-fund/

To learn about BC Food and Beverage, visit: https://bcfb.ca/

To learn about the Province’s efforts to support food processors in B.C., visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2023AF0025-000588

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