Home Business & Economy Food & Agriculture Funding for creative range of BC food & beverage manufacturers

Funding for creative range of BC food & beverage manufacturers

Manufacture of natural health & frozen convenience products

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Holiday platter by Soul Bite Food Inc.

Wednesday December 13, 2023 | VICTORIA, BC

by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends

Today the Ministry of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation (JEDI) announced funding for four food and beverage manufacturers.

That’s toward support for local economies by “creating new jobs, strengthening BC’s agrifood and agritech sectors, and promoting the development of made-in-B.C. products”, as stated in the December 13, 2023 news release.

brenda bailey, jobs minister
Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation, Brenda Bailey, Nov 23, 2023.

“Helping homegrown manufacturing companies expand helps us grow a strong, sustainable economy in B.C. that everyone can benefit from,” said Brenda Bailey, Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation. “Through the BC Manufacturing Jobs Fund, we’re investing in innovative projects around the province that create stable jobs and stronger communities.”

$2.07 million fund:

The provincial government is contributing “as much as $2.07 million through the BC Manufacturing Jobs Fund”. That is going toward support for three capital projects and one planning project, to help food and beverage manufacturers grow by upgrading equipment and facilities to increase capacity. That will apparently create more than 125 new jobs.

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  • In Surrey, Dr. Ma’s Laboratories, which manufactures more than 800 natural health products, will receive as much as $1.25 million to establish a second processing facility and complete facility upgrades. Upgrades will accommodate scaling up and automation of production to meet increasing demand. The food, supplement and vitamin manufacturer will also bring raw-ingredient processing in house as part of a capital project, which will triple production, enable it to prioritize local suppliers and create 75 new jobs. “The program’s support allows our company to open a second manufacturing facility and add new in-house production capabilities,” said Jie Ma, president, Dr. Ma’s Laboratories. “The funding helps us create sustainable and quality jobs, right here in Surrey.”
  • In Pitt Meadows, When We Eat Manufacturing Ltd., which produces frozen-snack foods for grocery-store chains and is working to become a net-zero processing facility, is receiving as much as $623,000 to expand production, build and install new equipment. The upgrade will help scale up operations and minimize CO2 emissions from production. This project will create 50 new jobs and set the stage to increase manufacturing capacity and diversify product offerings. “With deep gratitude to the BC Manufacturing Jobs Fund, our project modernizes production in the food industry with in-house, state-of-the-art equipment and facility expansion,” said Jae Park, owner, When We Eat Manufacturing Ltd. “This strategic investment enhances efficiency, generates jobs, ensures food safety and drives our commitment to global innovation, contributing significantly to food-industry competitiveness and growth.”

Other food and beverage manufacturers receiving funds from the BC Manufacturing Jobs Fund include:

  • Wynndel: Pippin Point, which produces juice, cider and reusable wooden boxes, will receive as much as $176,610 to build a new production plant and buy machinery that will allow it to operate year-round, increase the manufacturing of reusable wooden boxes made from B.C. plywood and hire four full-time staff; and
  • Coquitlam: Soul Bite Food Inc., a plant-based food manufacturing and catering business that produces and distributes a line of vegan frozen dinners, is receiving as much as $22,000 to complete planning activities for a future capital project that would help the company buy equipment to automate production, achieve economies of scale and create four jobs.

Strengthening food security:

“The stronger the B.C. manufacturing system is, the more secure our food and beverage supply will be for the people who rely on local products in our communities,” said Pam Alexis, Minister of Agriculture and Food.

pam alexis, agriculture minister
BC Agriculture and Food Minister Pam Alexis addresses animal feed needs of ranchers and farmers, July 25, 2023 in Vancouver. [livestream]

“With this program, we’re helping B.C.’s agriculture and agritech manufacturing sectors be more competitive, while boosting economic growth. We will continue to work closely with them to ensure their success,” said Alexis in today’s news release.

The BC Manufacturing Jobs Fund supports for-profit organizations to plan and launch shovel-ready, high-value industrial and manufacturing projects that bring direct benefits and stable, family-supporting jobs to communities, while driving clean and inclusive growth throughout the province.

Building resilient economies is part of the Province’s work through the StrongerBC Economic Plan to build a strong and sustainable economy through clean and inclusive growth. Supporting B.C.’s manufacturing sectors helps bring the government closer to its goal of building a more innovative economy for people, businesses and communities throughout B.C.

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alistair macgregor, holiday open house, 2023

Quotes provided by government:

  • Lisa Beare, MLA for Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows – “There are so many amazing innovators in B.C. leading the way in clean and sustainable manufacturing, including right here in Pitt Meadows. When we support local companies making these changes, we’re creating good jobs in our community and a cleaner economy.”
  • Brittny Anderson, MLA for Nelson-Creston – “People in the Kootenays are proud of the innovation and creativity of our small businesses. I’m so glad our government is able to assist Pippin Point to expand their operations and continue growing our local sustainable economy.”
  • Selina Robinson, MLA for Coquitlam-Maillardville – “Innovation is key to an expanding food manufacturing sector. The BC Manufacturing Jobs Fund is helping small, local companies to modernize production and create more jobs for people in their home communities. I’m looking forward to seeing more of Soul Bite Food’s vegan frozen dinners and catering, as they grow and expand their business.”
  • Stephen Aryan, director, Pippin Point – “Pippin Point is grateful to the BC Manufacturing Jobs Fund for contributing to the expansion of our operations in the Columbia Basin region. This funding allows for a continued investment in scaling up manufacturing to meet increasing demand, replace imported products with locally produced versions and open up new export markets.”
  • Ali Haeri, director, Soul Bite Food Inc. – “With funds from the BC Manufacturing Jobs Fund, we have been able to conduct comprehensive market research, refine our case-development strategies and position ourselves for sustainable success. The impact of this support extends far beyond our organization. It contributes to the overall development of the manufacturing landscape in British Columbia.”
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