January 7, 2015, Portage la Prairie, Man – The governments of Canada and Manitoba will invest more than $582,000 in equipment so a Portage la Prairie company can transform Manitoba-grown produce into nutritious and flavorful purees.
Canadian Prairie Garden Puree Products Inc. has acquired new equipment and modified its existing operation in order to cook more types of fruits, vegetables and pulse crops – like chickpeas, navy beans and lentils – then rapidly chill and package the pureed products into sterile pouches. It is the only company in the world with this technology, which is more cost-effective and environmentally friendly than traditional processing methods. The technology also ensures the purees retain better colour, flavour, texture and nutritional benefits without any preservatives or additives.
“I am very proud of the good work our team has done in building this world-class food- processing business,” said Kelly Beaulieu, chief operating officer and owner of Canadian Prairie Garden Puree Products Inc. “This type of value-added agri-business is a very important part of the community.”
The company’s expansion allows them to purchase millions of tonnes of culled vegetables that might otherwise be sent to a landfill or sold at a lower price for animal feed. In five years, the company plans to expand to nearly 60 employees from its current nine.
“We are creating jobs, building innovation in food processing and creating more opportunity for area farmers to sell their crops, not only locally, but around the world,” said Beaulieu. “This funding is critical to the success of small businesses like ours. My partners, Harvey and Martin Pollock, and I are very grateful to receive it and will put it to work, growing and expanding our young business.”
The company, located at the Food Development Centre in Portage la Prairie, has received several awards in 2015 for its products including for Best New Product at the Manitoba Food Processors Association’s awards and a NEXTY award at the Natural Products Expo West in California.
The purees can be sold to other food manufacturers and other food service customers. The company’s process allows purees to be stored at room temperature for up to two years. The sterile packaging system also uses 30 per cent less water and energy than other processes currently in use in the industry.
Government funding represents 50 per cent of the cost of the new equipment. The Growing Value program provides financial assistance to help existing agri-businesses adapt to market forces and environmental considerations, increasing their ability to compete in domestic and international markets.