UPDATE: The Agri-Food Innovation Expo, which is being held at Westerner Park in Red Deer, is moving from June 6-8 to November 28-30.
Red Deer (Rural Roots Canada) – As the agri-food sector evolves, the inaugural Agri-food Innovation Expo will explore innovation and economic growth opportunities within one of Alberta’s largest industries.
This new event, launching this spring, is set to be a platform for the industry to gather, learn, and grow while helping it capitalize on undiscovered and underutilized opportunities.
Expo show manager Dave Fiddler says the agriculture industry lacks a trade show that delves into the opportunities within the agri-food sector. The Agri-Food Innovation Expo will look to bridge the gap and provide a space for industry professionals to connect and expand their knowledge.
“There’s a significant number of events that support the primary production in Alberta, but there are no events or conferences of any great degree that really focus on the opportunities within the agri-food sector and what’s coming down the tube.”
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What are those opportunities? There are plenty, says Fiddler, from developing new revenue streams on family farms, packaging, processing and distribution, sustainability, and technology.
“We’re at the tip of the iceberg. It’s going to be huge. The opportunities will be significant. It’s probably too early to tell where it’s headed. We’re going to learn a lot at the conference. We’ve got some top-level speakers from all over North America that will give us some insight into the research being done, and their present understanding of consumer shifts and what the pandemic did.”
Fiddler notes that the pandemic has impacted consumer behaviours and habits significantly.
“There’s been a change in consumer demand for locally grown products, with the pandemic causing that shift. What are consumers looking for? And, more importantly, what are they looking for in the future? The pandemic really did cause a shift in consumer mentality about how they approach food and wellness.”
The inaugural Agri-Food Innovation Expo will take place from November 28 – 30 at Westerner Park in Red Deer. The first evening of the event will feature Alberta chefs cooking with Alberta products. Day two will focus on building your toolkit and expanding your markets, while day three will match entrepreneurs with experts who can answer their questions and help them grow their businesses.
Moving forward, the expo plans to alternate between Red Deer and Lethbridge, as both communities are at the forefront of the natural evolution of the food industry and food businesses.
For more information about the Agri-Food Innovation Expo, you can visit the website.