New, first of its kind program will recognize top consumer-facing innovations

Applications now available for the Ontario Chicken Innovation and Growth Program.
Canadian Poultry magazine
April 05, 2018
By Canadian Poultry magazine
Recognizing that Canadians are eating more chicken than ever before and continue to look for new, innovative products to meet their needs, Chicken Farmers of Ontario (CFO) today launched the Ontario Chicken Innovation and Growth Program to accelerate consumer-facing product innovation and stimulate growth in the Ontario chicken industry.

"This program is the first of its kind in our industry. Our goal is simple: Put new, innovative Ontario chicken products on the plates of consumers and enhance economic activity in Ontario," said Rob Dougans, president and CEO, Chicken Farmers of Ontario. "We are excited to see new innovations come to market through this Program and to see our industry – farmers, processors, retailers, restaurant and foodservice operators working together – continue their long history of collaboration to grow the market for chicken products."

Chicken has been the first choice of Canadians at home and in restaurants for more than a decade and during that time the industry has adapted, addressing the growing need for locally grown food, convenient meal options and greater interest in healthy eating. Through this Program, top consumer-facing innovations will be recognized and an additional supply of chicken will be allocated to enable the innovation and accelerate growth.

"Ontario is home to the largest chicken farming, processor and consumer base in Canada making it an excellent place to bring new products to the market," said Michael Burrows, chair, Association of Ontario Chicken Processors. "This program is an excellent opportunity for all of us to look at innovations in development and accelerate their market entry."

All companies involved in the processing, marketing and sale of chicken products including primary processors, further processors, retailers, foodservice and restaurant companies are encouraged to apply at www.chickeninnovation.ca.

Applicants that are not primary processors must include a primary processor as part of their application to enable the allocation. Innovations must be designed for consumers, be the first of their kind in Canada and use chicken grown and fully processed in Ontario.

Eligible applications will be reviewed by an Independent Advisory Committee of experts who are also responsible for overseeing the program. The Committee is chaired by the Honourable Douglas Cunningham, a former judge of the Superior Court of Ontario, and includes three experts in consumer packaged goods, business, marketing and the chicken industry: Paul Borg, Steve Dowbiggin and Mary Beth Williamson.

"This program is all about accelerating innovative products that meet consumer needs. Therefore, we're looking for products that have some track record – piloted or introduced to the market in the last 18 months so that historical sales data can be part of the application," said Mr. Cunningham. "And, because applications are scored on their own merits, there is the opportunity for multiple innovations to be recognized."

In addition to at least six months of historical sales data, each application must include a description of the innovation, forecasted sales data, market research and a marketing plan. The Advisory Committee will assess each application and recommend the highest scoring applicants to CFO for final approval.

Applications are now available online at www.chickeninnovation.ca, where interested companies can also find out more about the program. The application deadline is July 13, 2018.

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