B.C.’s vision of becoming a global leader in the food processing industry has received a boost with the appointment of the University of British Columbia’s (UBC) Anubhav Singh as the province’s first food and beverage innovation professor.
B.C.’s food and beverage processing sector has grown rapidly over the last decade, and government is providing additional support to take the industry to the next level.
Singh is an assistant professor of food processing in UBC's faculty of land and food systems. His research has explored emerging technologies for improving the nutrition, quality, processability and shelf life of food. In this new role, Singh will lead research and development to ensure B.C.’s next generation of food and beverage processors can access academic programs that will help B.C.’s industry continue to thrive and expand.
“The appointment of Dr. Singh is an important milestone in our government’s goal of creating a B.C. food and beverage innovation centre at UBC and establishing British Columbia as a leader in food and beverage processing,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture. “It takes an amazing amount of hard work, passion and dedication to create a successful processing business, and the professor and the centre will play a critical role in providing guidance to processors in order to drive the industry forward in B.C. Our government is committed to helping create jobs in our communities, and putting local food and beverages, made of local products, on our tables.”
The Province is contributing $2.58 million, over three years, to create an endowment fund to provide long-term financial support for the B.C. food and beverage innovation professorship at UBC to:
- improve B.C.’s food processors’ access to modern processing technology and practices;
- provide expertise to help the sector continue to innovate and develop new products;
- help create new potential post-secondary programs in B.C. to develop qualified personnel who will help grow the industry locally;
- lead development of the B.C. food and beverage innovation centre at UBC Vancouver; and
- facilitate improved research and information sharing for processors accessing the B.C. Food Hub Network.
“The faculty of land and food systems at UBC is tackling many critical global issues, including how to create healthier and more sustainable food systems,” said Santa Ono, president and vice-chancellor, UBC. “This investment from the B.C. government will accelerate innovative research in food processing and strengthen connections between the university and industry partners, contributing to the overall strength of B.C.’s food and beverage sector.”
“Dr. Singh’s expertise in technological food processing will be invaluable in this unique and progressive professorship,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. “It means we are one step closer to establishing a B.C. food and beverage centre at UBC, and being able to offer students the innovative, hands-on expertise that will get them job ready for high demand jobs in B.C.’s growing tech sector.”
The development of the B.C. food and beverage innovation centre to innovate in the processing, packaging and marketing of B.C. food and beverage products is a mandate-letter commitment for the minister of agriculture. The vision for the centre is to be a food processing facility with a focus on research and development.
“We are lucky to be at the gateway to Asia,” said Singh. “The B.C. Food Hub Network, along with the research and development centre at UBC, shall give our growers and processors the technological edge to ensure that we continue to innovate with high-quality, safe, healthy and ‘made in B.C.’ food products that compete internationally.”
- The $10 billion of value-added products produced by B.C. food and beverage producers per year represent 70% of total agriculture and food revenues and provide 30,000 jobs for British Columbians.
- There are over 2,500 food processing companies in B.C. that produce value-added meat, seafood, dairy, fruit and vegetable products, beverages (including wine, beer and spirits), sauces/condiments, functional foods and bakery items.
- The B.C. Food Hub Network is part of the ministry’s Feed BC mandate, which commits to encouraging more food and beverage processing in the province. This, in turn, will support local economies, job creation and farming families throughout the province.
Additional Ministry of Agriculture information on innovation and technology: