Category Archives: packaging

Just label it

Paper labels and automation tech makes Essex County company an international success

By Matt McIntosh

Windsor – Product traceability is critical for food processors, and an Essex County company specializing in agricultural automation has been helping them sustainably improve for 27 years.

“Automation was almost non-existent in agriculture 30 years ago, but there was obviously a need for it,” says Joe Sleiman, founder and president of Ag-Tronic Control Systems, an automation technology company based near Windsor.

“We started by looking at ways to help local produce growers improve efficiency, and do so in a more sustainable way. Now we have clients throughout Canada, the United States, and Mexico, and we’re in the process of expanding to South America, Europe and Australia,” he says.

Together with his wife Samia, Sleiman started Ag-Tronic Control Systems in 1991 to market and improve his own automation equipment. At the time, that included a height control system for tomato harvesters, tractor guidance equipment, and a plant watering system. Continue reading

Waterloo company prototypes light-based food inspection technology at Burlington-area food processor

Shine a light on me

By Matt McIntosh

Waterloo – Good lighting can do more than illuminate your salad. It can actually tell you the quality of those soon-to-be ingested leafy greens.

With the right technology, light can be used to measure the quality of food in real-time. When it comes to food processing, that can help make for more efficient and less wasteful production systems.

With funding through Growing Forward 2 (GF2), Waterloo’s P & P Optica has patented a system allowing them to incorporate hyperspectral imaging technology into a fast-paced, food processing environment.

“We developed what we call PPO Smart Imaging, which is a process that uses light to analyze the chemical makeup of a specific food product,” said Kevin Turnbull, Vice President of Sales for P & P Optica. Continue reading

Ontario technology makes single serve coffee more environmentally friendly

mike-tiessen-left-and-atul-bali-right-webBy Lilian Schaer for AgInnovation Ontario

Leamington – A unique partnership involving a local biopolymer compounding company, technology from the University of Guelph and a food packaging company could make single serve coffee pod garbage a thing of the past.

Competitive Green Technologies of Leamington is working with the world’s leading single serve coffee brand owners on a recyclable and compostable version of the single serve coffee pod.

Its key structural components are made from bio-composites using biomass like coffee chaff, a waste stream of the coffee industry. Other biomass such as corn fiber, bio-carbon and miscanthus are also used, ensuring added markets for agriculture. Continue reading

Extending the shelf life of fresh Ontario fruits and vegetables

Bins full of apples - webBy Lilian Schaer for AgInnovation Ontario

Simcoe ON – New storage bins are currently being tested that could extend the shelf life of fresh Ontario produce. Watch the video.

It can be a real challenge for farmers to match their supply of fresh fruits and vegetables with consumer demand – especially at the height of the harvest when there is often an excess of fresh produce on the market, which can lower prices to growers.

The new bins, designed for use in cold storage facilities, may help solve that problem by extending the shelf life of perishable crops to give farmers more flexibility with their marketing decisions. Continue reading

New centre to build local food economy in Eastern Ontario

Building from outside - webBy Lilian Schaer for AgInnovation Ontario

Northumberland County – A new food hub in Eastern Ontario is opening for business and local officials have high hopes about what it might accomplish for the region.

The Ontario Agri-Food Venture Centre (OAFVC) will boost rural, food-based entrepreneurship and offer local training opportunities to help keep people in the area, says Northumberland County’s agricultural manager.

The state of the art centre, which is available for rent by the day or half day, is fully equipped with the technology needed to add value to raw agricultural products – from flash freezing and cold pressing to canning, short term cold storage, and hot kitchen recipe development. Continue reading