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Archived - Harper Government Supports New Commercialization and Export Opportunities for Animal Nutrition Industry

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April 4, 2014 – Edmonton, Alberta – Western Economic Diversification Canada

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The Honourable Michelle Rempel, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification, today announced an investment to support the establishment an Animal Nutrition and Ingredient Development Program at the University of Alberta.

Federal funding of $1.6 million through the Western Diversification Program will allow the University’s Faculty of Agricultural, Life & Environmental Sciences to acquire specialized pilot-scale extrusion equipment. The investment enables the University - in partnership with Champion Petfoods LP, Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency, and Elmira Pet Products Ltd. - to help Canadian pet food companies develop new and innovative products, enhance food safety, expand domestic and international markets, increase the productivity and competitiveness the Western Canadian pet food industry, as well as enhance opportunities for Canadian crop and livestock industries to market their products as ingredients.  

The Animal Nutrition and Ingredient Development Program will also provide students the opportunity to receive training in pet food development, pet health and nutrition, as well as valuable hands-on experience in an industrial environment.

Quick Facts

  • The Wenger X-115 single-screw extruder can process meats, grains and vegetables, and is capable of shearing cell walls, cooking, mixing, texturizing and shaping food products, while maintaining quality, productivity, and low cost.
  • This state-of-the-art food-grade equipment, which will be housed at the University’s Agri-Food Discovery Place, is a smaller version of commonly used commercial equipment and can be directly scaled to industry standards, where kibbles are mostly produced using a single-screw extruder. 
  • According to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Market Indicator Report, retail sales in the Canadian pet food market are projected to grow to $1.9 billion, or by 10.2 per cent by 2016. Dog food sales are projected to increase by 11.5 per cent, followed by cat food at 9.8 per cent.


"Our Government remains committed to creating jobs, growth and long-term prosperity for Canadians. By supporting this initiative at the University of Alberta, we are helping to enhance product development and export opportunities for Western Canada's animal nutrition industry and agricultural producers."

- Michelle Rempel, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification

"Having this unique technology will allow the University of Alberta to play a leadership role, in cooperation with our government and industry partners, in the development of new pet foods and novel ingredients for food and feed applications."

- Dr. Walter Dixon, Associate Vice-President of Research at the University of Alberta

"Producing value-added products will help our agriculture industry achieve long-term competitiveness. This project will increase both the value of primary agriculture and manufacturing capacity, as well as advance the skill-set of Western Canadians – it's a win all around."

- Gordon Cove, President and CEO, Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency

"We are extremely pleased to partner with Western Economic Diversification Canada, the University of Alberta and the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency to help us grow our Biologically Appropriate mandate. This leading-edge technology enhances our ability to develop innovative foods made from fresh regional ingredients. This investment diversifies our economy, increases Alberta meat demand, and furthers our knowledge through collaborative research."

- Frank Burdzy, President and CEO, Champion Petfoods

"As a scientifically-driven premium dry pet food provider, we are proud to partner with the University of Alberta, Western Economic Diversification Canada and Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency Ltd. to advance the health and well-being of pets. This strong partnership leverages the best of Canadian resources from the manufacturing, research, ingredient and economic sectors. Our collaborative approach will shape future technologies and practices resulting in true pet health innovation."

- David Johnston, COO, Elmira Pet Products

Additional Links


Emily Goucher
Office of the Minister
Western Economic Diversification
Telephone: 613-954-8097

Professor Ruurd Zijlstra
PI, Animal Nutrition and Ingredient Development Program
Faculty of Agricultural, Life & Environmental Sciences
University of Alberta
Telephone: 780-492-8593

Jeff Johnston
Vice-President, Research and Innovation
Champion Petfoods
Telephone: 780-784-0322

Gordon Cove
President and CEO
Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency
Telephone: 780-639-6489

David Johnston
Chief Operating Officer
Elmira Pet Products
Telephone: 519-766-6233

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