OTTAWA, June 5, 2007 – The Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board, today announced a $721,000 investment in the Nutri-Net Canada Project to help expand market opportunities for the Canadian functional foods and natural health products industry.
Natural health products include supplements which, in many cases, are made from traditional or specialty crops, seafood and aquaculture. Functional foods are similar in appearance to, or are conventional foods, that have benefits and can help to reduce the risk of chronic disease.
“Consumers today are becoming more interested in extra nutritional benefits in their food staples, such as cereals, eggs, juice and bread. This is great news for the Canadian agri-food industry and Canadian farmers as this industry grows,” said Minister Strahl. “Canada’s New Government is proud to provide an investment that will help to boost market opportunities for Canadian farmers in the natural health product industry.”
Through case studies, regional and national workshops and conferences, and a nation-wide industry networking website the project will provide an in-depth understanding of the sector and lay a solid foundation for building a sustainable national network of the Canadian functional food and natural health products industry. More importantly, the Nutri-Net Canada Project will bring together public and private sector stakeholders from across Canada to develop a national strategy and action plan for accelerating the growth of the Canadian functional food and natural health products industry.
The project is administered by the Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA) on behalf of the coalition of functional food and natural health products organizations known as Nutri-Net Canada. Members of the Nutri-Net Canada Steering Committee include representatives of organizations and institutions supported by the governments of British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick. In addition to AAFC funds, the project will receive over $900,000 in financial and in-kind contributions from industry, bringing the total budget for all activities to over $1.6 million.
“As Canada’s largest not for profit trade association representing the interests of hundreds of health food and natural health product suppliers and retailers across Canada, the CHFA is pleased to be involved in this important initiative that will ultimately enhance consumer understanding and choice of functional foods and natural health products,” said CHFA Vice President, Anne Wilkie. “We are extremely grateful for Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s enabling support.”
AAFC funding for this projects falls under the Agricultural Policy Framework (APF), Science and Innovation Broker Program. The APF is a federal-provincial-territorial initiative that aims to position Canada as the world leader in food safety, innovation and environmentally responsible agricultural production.
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For more information, media may contact:
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Vice President and Head of Regulatory Affairs
Canadian Health Food Association