Saskatchewan’s food and ingredients sector was the focus for five food innovation companies who travelled from South Africa, Argentina, Netherlands, and Mexico to take part in the Navigate program, organized by the Global Agri-Food Advancement Partnership (GAAP) and supported by Ag-West Bio.

Navigate seeks out cutting-edge technologies from around the world that align with the Canadian agri-food ecosystem, with the goal of introducing global innovators to the local ecosystem so they can assess the fit for their potential expansion.

GAAP CEO Jay Robinson, says “In today’s rapidly growing food industry, food security and streamlined supply chain management are foundational cornerstones for success. Embracing innovation while balancing industry requirements and consumer demands are the key to unlocking the abundant opportunities Canada has on the global food technology stage. GAAP is excited to host novel food ingredient companies from around the world because we understand that capturing these opportunities in a sustainable and profitable way requires the collaboration of the best and brightest minds.”

The international visitors had a busy week in the province, with tours, networking, and one-on-one meetings with local network connections.

Oct. 18: The day started off with a breakfast seminar with Ben Kelly of Algarithm Ingredients, who spoke about starting a business and working through all the challenges of the food industry here in Canada.

At lunch Navigate officially launched with an event at Boffins, Innovation Place. Each Navigate participant introduced their company and technology to over 100 guests.

In the afternoon, the companies began exploring Saskatchewan’s food ecosystem with a tour at KeyLeaf with Thushan Withana-Gamage. It was great about their down stream processing capabilities, just another example of the world class expertise and facilities located right here in Saskatoon!

At Bioriginal, CEO Shannon Sears told the group about the impressive history and bright future for Bioriginal. The final stop was the Saskatchewan Food Industry Development Centre with a presentation by President Mehmet Tulbek.

Oct 19: Ecosystem Training Day at Crossmount Cider Company included presentations from research and granting organizations and service providers to showcase some of the many benefits to establishing a Canadian subsidiary and accessing the North American market through a base in Saskatchewan. Speakers were: Colleen Christensen (NRC-IRAP), Bailey Gervais (Sask Ministry of Agriculture); Andrew Kudel (Infinity SRED); Chris Dekker (Sask Trade and Export Partnership); Sara Hipson and Melissa Corey (Mentor Works); Jason Heit (Prairies Economic Development Canada); Michael Nickerson (USask); Blaine Chartrand (Sask Polytechnic); Anusha Samaranayaka (NRC); Mehmet Tulbek (Food Centre); Amy Carruthers and Kyle Adams (Ag-West Bio). Read more 

Oct. 20: The day started with visits to the Canadian Light Source and the National Research Council. During lunch, Shannon Hood-Niefer from Sunnydale Foods spoke to participants about product development and commercialization. The participants spent the afternoon with Ben Scott and Megha Bajaj with the Global Institute for Food Security (GIFS) Bio Engineering Platform to explore opportunities for support services and collaborations.

Oct 21-22: Over the weekend, the delegates travelled to Rosthern, SK, where Russ Schroeder gave them a tour at Marquis Milling; then toured EE Grain and finally, Maker’s Crafted Malts, where Matt Enns showed them around.

Oct 24: On their final day in Saskatchewan, the Navigate participants visited Genome Prairie, with presentations by Lester Young and Jerlene Halliday.
The Navigate participants also attended The Canadian Business workshop, learning about how to set up a Canadian subsidiary from Ivan Bergerman, IP from Harm Deckers, regulatory steps from Erin Taraborrelli and Canadian accounting practices from Brett Thiessen.

The trip wasn’t all business – the packed agenda left room for fun too, like bowling at Stoked Centre, networking at LB Distillers, along with good old fashioned fall activities like pumpkin carving, a walk through a corn maze and the Campus Ghost Tour at the University of Saskatchewan!

After a week on the prairies, the delegation flew to Las Vegas for SupplySide West, an enormous food industry trade show with over 870,000 sq ft and 1500 exhibitor booths. The trip was capped off with a visit to the Grand Canyon.

Find details about the week’s activities, along with pictures, on GAAP’s LinkedIn page.

About the Companies

Creative Food Labs

Millions of tons of agricultural waste decays (or is incinerated) every year, leading to massive amounts of greenhouse gas emissions. Creative Food Labs upcycles agricultural waste into xylitol – a natural sugar substitute – through a low-energy fermentation process. Xylitol tastes like sugar but reduces the risk of diabetes, obesity and tooth decay. Joining us from Mexico will be Javier Larragoiti Kuri and Isabella Fernández Klimek. Visit Creative Food Labs Website

De Novo Foodlabs

Through its proprietary precision fermentation technology, De Novo Foodlabs creates valuable compounds and nutrients that are naturally difficult to obtain through traditional means, such as rare proteins and isolated peptides without the need for animal agriculture. An example is NanoFerin – a revolutionary, animal-free substitute for lactoferrin (a protein found in cow’s first milk) which has powerful health benefits. Joining us from South Africa are Leah Bessa and Richard Grieves. Visit De Novo Foodlabs website

Ergo Bioscience Inc

Ergo Bioscience is a biotech startup focused on the production of complex animal proteins through plant cell cultivation with high efficiency, with current cell lines for the expression of myoglobin for use in plant-based meat products, and caseins for use in plant-based dairy products. Joining us from Argentina will be Alejandro Barbarini. Visit Ergo Bioscience website


Food4You develops unique bacteria combinations for fermentation. The fermentation time of these bacteria is optimized and quicker than commercial options. The customized bacterial cultures are used to optimize plant ingredient bases for yogurt, cheeses, dips or bean flours. Food4You’s goal is to unlock access to a wider choice of nutritious and robust plant-based food products, using unique starter cultures and probiotics. Joining us from Argentina is Francisco Gil Garbagnoli. Visit Food 4 You website

NoPalm Ingredients

NoPalm Ingredients harnesses fermentation to produce high quality oils and fats from agri-food waste streams, such as potato peels, rejected vegetables or any other biomass that contains either sugar, fatty acids, or alcohols, for use in food, cosmetics, and home care products. Their products are perfect substitutes to palm and other vegetable oils. Joining us from the Netherlands is Allard Langenhuijsen. Visit NO Palm Ingredients website


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