The Canadian government has announced an investment to help Canada’s fresh produce industry transition to sustainable food and produce packaging.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau said the government will invest up to C$376,200 ($299,869) in the Canadian Produce Marketing Association (CPMA).

The CPMA is a not-for-profit organisation that aims to enhance Canada’s fresh produce market and allow its member organisations to trade produce more easily.

The organisation will put the investment towards a national pilot project to help develop sustainable packaging design and material options with improved recyclability or composability.

This project will involve a range of major stakeholders, including manufacturers, packaging producers, retailers and recycling facilities.

It aims to enable the industry to understand Canada’s food and produce packaging system, study the effects of various packaging options and accordingly create a deployment plan.

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CPMA president Ron Lemaire said: “Plastic packaging is a major enabler of affordable, safe and high-quality foods in Canada.

“This project looks to promote systems thinking and innovation that will help shape food and produce packaging pathways that enable the migration to fully sustainable food and produce packaging in Canada.

“The benefits are beyond environmental sustainability and include the development of a new packaging circular economy, leveraging composting systems across Canada, and enhancing industry alignment with leading sustainable packaging in food and produce.”

The investment is provided through the C$50.3m Canadian Agricultural Strategic Priorities Programme (CASPP), which aims to help Canada’s agricultural sector adapt and remain competitive over the next five years.

Earlier this month, the Circular Plastics Taskforce (CPT) secured more than C$500,000 in financial assistance from the Canadian government’s Ministry of Economy and Innovation (MEI).

The CPT will use the funding to resume its current recycling project.

Founded in 2020, the organisation consists of several major food, beverage and packaging companies.