Richardson to take food innovation downtown

Artist’s rendition of the planned Richardson Innovation Centre in Winnipeg. (Graphic courtesy Richardson International)

Canadian grain and agrifood firm Richardson International plans to marshal its food research and product development crews in a new downtown Winnipeg space.

The privately-held, Winnipeg-based company announced Wednesday it will put up over $30 million to build what it calls the Richardson Innovation Centre, a four-story, 62,000-square foot facility to go up a block east of its head office on Lombard Avenue.

The centre is envisioned as “a training facility for our employees and customers and an education centre for food science students and the culinary community,” said Chuck Cohen, Richardson’s senior vice-president for technology.

“As a Winnipeg-based company, we look forward to bringing our customers, suppliers and partners from around the globe to this centre to showcase our products and capabilities and provide them with a rich experience in a very unique setting.”

The new centre is expected to house Richardson’s food development team, product development suites, analytical laboratory and a culinary test and demonstration kitchen.

That includes food and technology researchers now working in “nooks and crannies” at the company’s facilities across the Prairies, Richardson CEO Curt Vossen said during a press conference Wednesday.

Based on the “current scope” of Richardson’s food R+D work, that’s expected to include about 100 people at first, with capacity for double the staff level, he said.

The centre will boast a “cutting-edge” microbiology lab and an “extensive” quality analysis area to support the company’s quality assurance and food safety groups. Its office areas are expected to offer room for expansion to focus on innovations such as robotics and automation in food packaging and processing.

Positioning these departments in the same space “will optimize research, analytical and educational activities and facilitate the efficient development of truly innovative products,” the company said in a release.

R+D work needs a “modern platform for testing solutions, troubleshooting issues and exploring new ideas as they relate to market needs and evolving customer taste profiles,” Vossen said in the release.

To test raw products’ derivatives or to create “entirely new” product streams, the company’s technical capabilities “must be backed by the right technical facilities,” he said.

The company also expects to use the centre for collaborative work with Winnipeg-based institutions such as the University of Manitoba, Red River College and Cigi (the Canadian International Grains Institute), among others, Cohen said.

Having the centre available will allow researchers to discuss ideas, exchange information and examine upcoming food trends face-to-face on a day-to-day basis, Vossen said.

Asked about federal funding recently made available for research into plant-based protein sources through the Protein Industries Canada (PIC) supercluster — in which Richardson is already participating — he said the company’s investment in the new centre will go ahead regardless of participation from “any public entity.”

If, however, there are programs in which the new centre can participate, the company will research those for a possible fit, he said.

Richardson’s food processing operations include four oilseed crushing, processing and packaging plants in Canada and oat mills in Canada, the U.S. and the U.K.

The company’s farm-level research operations include its Kelburn Farm just south of Winnipeg and its new Bennett Farm near Regina. It also backed the establishment of the Richardson Centre for Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals in 2006 at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg.

Construction on the Richardson Innovation Centre site is set to begin this month for completion by the spring of 2020, Richardson said. –– Network

curt vossen
The Office of the Chief Veterinary Officer is alerting livestock owners that anthrax can be responsible for sudden death on summer pastures. Anthrax is a preventable disease when appropriate vaccination programs are used. Producers who will graze their livestock in areas of the province that have had previous anthrax cases, or in areas with alkaline to neutral soils that were flooded this year, are strongly encouraged to vaccinate their livestock for this disease. In 2006, Manitoba and Saskatchewan experienced an unusually high number of anthrax cases with Manitoba reporting 148 dead animals from 22 locations and Saskatchewan reporting 806 dead animals from 153 locations. Some outbreaks occurred in areas that had no history of anthrax. In Manitoba, during the summer of 2009, anthrax was conf irmed on three cattle premises in the R. M. of Franklin and one bison premise in the R. M. of Stuartburn. No cases of anthrax have been reported to date in Manitoba in 2010. Any sudden deaths in susceptible livestock or wildlife should be checked by a veterinarian. The carcass should not be moved and should be protected from scavengers. If anthrax is suspected, a blood sample will be taken by the veterinarian and sent into the provincial lab in Winnipeg. Results are often available within 24 hours. Manitoba’s chief veterinary officer is encouraging livestock owners to vaccinate their animals before turning them out to pasture to prevent or reduce the potential for anthrax. Information on anthrax can be found on the Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives website at is a federally reportable disease in Canada and, when suspected, must be reported to a local veterinarian or the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). To promote reporting and help cover the costs of proper disposal, CFIA will pay up to $500 per head for cattle confirmed dead from anthrax. Indemnity is also available for horses, bison, sheep, swine, goats and farmed elk and deer. For general inquiries about anthrax, call 1-800-442-2342 (toll free) or visit the CFIA website at also lists cases and maps for positive anthrax at

About the author


Editor, Daily News

Writer and editor. A Saskatchewan transplant in Winnipeg.


Stories from our other publications