MP Dan Albas was in Summerland Monday to announce an investment that will help farmers turn traditional crops into new revenue streams by extracting natural chemicals from plants materials for use in foods and cosmetics.
Area dignigataries, including Summerland Mayor Janice Perrino, as well as as employees with Mazza Innovation Ltd.,the recipient of the funding, were on hand for the release of new information.
"On behalf of the federal government, we are happy to partner and encourage agricultural innovation," said Albas. "This Canadian made pioneering technology will increase the demand for a wide variety of Canadian agricultural crops and help processors boost their profits while fulfilling the growing demand for health enhancing foods."
Through the Agrilnnovation Program, the government is investing up to $300,000 to help the Summerland company study the economic feasibility of using phytochemicals, such as antioxidants, to create naturally sourced nutraceuticals in foods and beverages on a commercial scale.
Joe Mazza, who founded the coupany in 2011 as a bench top operation, before expanding to a more commercial venture, said he was honoured to be recognized, and the funding will be used to move the company forward.
"The funding will help finance the optimization of our patentented extraction process, which will not only help Canadian agricultural producers enhance the value of their crops, but will provide a green, sustainable and more cost effective system to extract phytochemicals from plants," he said.
In terms of how the local farmer benefits, Mazza explained they use what is left over from winemaking, as well as from apple processing. A table display of cranberries, grapes, orange peels and red onions further showed how the process works.
The company's work is timely said those in attendance, because natural food products made without chemical proessing methods are in high demand from health conscious consumers.
"I am extremely excited about this, because there is an increasing consumer demand for products that improve health, made in a way that is beneficial to the environment," said Len Zapalowski, the CEO of Mazza Innovation.