The Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership is promoting the benefits of Lambton County this week in Chicago at the 2012 Private Label Manufacturers Association (PLMA) Private Label Trade Show. The event is America’s largest private label tradeshow, with this year's show presenting more than 2,000 exhibitors representing more than 35 countries, all seeking to expand their share of the large global food and beverage processing market.
Matthew Slotwinski, SLEP’s Agricultural and Rural Development Coordinator is one of several Ontario Food Cluster representatives attending the show as part of the Canadian agri-food sector’s leading “store brand,” the Ontario Food Cluster. The group is encouraging international food and beverage buyers and suppliers to invest and become part of Ontario’s $39 billion, 3,200-company food and beverage processing sector.
“This is an excellent opportunity for the municipalities in the Ontario Food Cluster to work together to pursue companies that have expressed an interest in investing in Ontario,” said Slotwinski. “By collaborating with other members of the group, we will be able to effectively emphasis the opportunities available to food processors in Ontario as well as Lambton County.”
On the heels of private label dollar share hitting a record high of $59.9 billion in 2011, economic development executives from the Ontario Food Cluster have been able to pre-arrange meetings with several food processors where they will highlight the cluster’s stellar reputation for reliable, sustainable sources of agricultural raw materials, state-of-the-art automated food processing methods, and world-class food safety.
As Ontario’s food sector is currently recognized as the second largest in North America, with over $39 billion in business and 130 000 employees, the province of Ontario considers the food processing industry to be strategic for investment attraction.
“We believe the strength of the areas agricultural industry and Sarnia-Lambton’s strategic location will allow us to attract new investment opportunities to the region,” said Slotwinski.