by Stacy Dunn
BioFoodTech provides specialized services to companies and entrepreneurs in the food and bioscience sectors. It is owned by the province of Prince Edward Island through Innovation PEI and is located on the University of PEI campus in Charlottetown.
For over 30 years, BioFoodTech has helped clients determine their needs and offer solutions. It provides expertise and assistance at every stage – from idea generation to pilot-scale to commercialization and test marketing new products.
Joy Shinn, Business Development Manager with BioFoodTech, says they have expanded their services to include pet food, cosmetics, and skincare products.
“Pet food has similar food manufacturing principles as food, so we can help those clients meet industry standards and labeling requirements,” she says. “We can share resources on best practices for their industry.
“In cosmetics and skin care, some manufacturing processes are like food processing, which includes good manufacturing practices, labelling, permitted ingredients, and record-keeping. When a client is ready to sell their products, we can help them understand the notification process with Health Canada.”
They now have equipment that can help with small-scale beverage processing. The facility has more capacity for canning and test-marketing of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks and cold brew coffee, which are becoming more popular. “We help companies get to the next level in their product development and scale-up.”
BioFoodTech is constantly sharing information and working collaboratively with Innovation PEI, Food Island Partnership (FIP), and Food & Beverage Atlantic. “We like to tell our clients about people in the region in the food sector who can support them and keep them informed of what they need to know. For example, FIP can provide market intelligence on products and trends for our clients.”
About the staff
About 30 people are on staff at BioFoodTech. Job titles include Food and Bioscience Scientists, Microbiologists, Technologists, Technicians, Engineers, Administrative Support, and Building Maintenance.
They work in the following areas:
- Food technology (lab and pilot scale)
- Bioscience technology (lab and pilot scale)
- Laboratory Services (microbiological testing)
“Staff like the variety of the work, and there are always new investigations and testing going on in the lab,” Joy says. “Staff are always training on new equipment, best practices and processes when the food and beverage sector calls for it through short courses and webinars offered throughout Canada and the US.”
Staff education levels
Staff members have a wide range of education levels, from high school to college diplomas in biotechnology, to Bachelors, Masters, and PhDs in science and engineering.
Students taking a post-secondary program in Business, Food Science, Foods & Nutrition, or Biotechnology have opportunities to do co-op placements at BioFoodTech. Bioscience and business students have worked in both the lab and projects division. Food students are most likely to work on projects.
“We ask about your experience, education, and technical knowledge,” Joy says. “We look at communication and collaboration skills because our work as a service provider is about building positive relationships with clients and staff.”
“We have staff who have been here over 30 years, so BioFoodTech is expecting high turnover with retirements in the next few years in all departments.”
As a crown corporation under the Government of PEI reporting to Innovation PEI, BioFoodTech follows the provincial government classification of occupations, wages, salaries, and benefits.
Jobs are shared via BioFoodTech’s social media platforms, website and at the PEI Public Service Commission (Provincial Government Job Opportunities page), PEI BioAlliance, and national organizations such as the Canadian Institute of Food Science and Technology.