Invest Alberta held an event with IXON Food Technology in Hong Kong today to announce the company’s decision to bring $10M and 20 jobs to Alberta when they launch a packaging innovation company in Edmonton, Alberta early next year.
Based in Hong Kong, the company developed a packing method — advanced sous-vide aseptic packaging (ASAP) — that allows meat to be stored at room temperature for as long as two years without refrigeration or preservatives.
Nearly 20 per cent of meat produced globally — close to 53 million tonnes — is lost or wasted at the retail or consumer level. IXON’s preservation technology represents an innovative advancement in sustainable, environmentally friendly, and accessible meat production and distribution. It reduces spoilage, requires less energy and water to produce than other packaging methods, and reduces the environmental footprint involved in shipping food around the world by eliminating the cold chain logistics for meat products.
The founders of IXON selected Edmonton over a number of other jurisdictions due to the region’s unique combination of world-class research, infrastructure, and network of support.
IXON is a graduate of Creative Destruction Lab-Rockies (CDL-Rockies). Located at the University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business, CDL-Rockies brings together experienced entrepreneurs, investors, and scientists to mentor technology and science-based start-ups in their pursuit to build scalable businesses. CDL-Rockies introduced IXON to top-tier mentors, including partners from The51 Food and Ag-Tech fund, a $50M fund investing in outlier entrepreneurs solving the planet’s most urgent food-related climate, environmental, and farming challenges.
The51 Food and AgTech Fund arranged an Alberta tour to connect IXON with Alberta’s investment ecosystem players, including the University of Alberta, Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) and Edmonton Global, with each providing significant expertise in ag-tech, logistics, and infrastructure in the capital region. Invest Alberta provided tailored services as a connector to government, academia and economic development partners to make IXON’s decision to invest in the province an easy one.
IXON is currently building a pilot automated line in Edmonton and expects to begin introducing its products, which will include Alberta beef and pork, to customers world-wide by 2024. The pilot line will have the capacity to produce four tonnes of packaged meat daily, which the company expects to increase to 20 tonnes per day and beyond once a full commercial line is in place.
IXON will continue researching and developing its food-packaging technologies, furthering Alberta’s position as the ideal place for growth and development in the food technology sector.
"After much travelling in July and August, we ultimately picked Alberta as the home for our first international office due to its tremendous support for start-ups, its outstanding quality meats, especially beef and pork, as well as its wealth of resources, including expertise in food safety, product development, and mechanical engineering.” — Felix Cheung, Founder and CEO, IXON Food Technology
“Creating a conducive climate for attracting investment and growing our economy is about having the right conditions for success in place. IXON’s decision to come to Alberta is proof that companies from across Canada and around the world are paying attention to the economic climate we have created in Alberta. Our province provides low corporate taxes, a government that actively supports free enterprise and is committed to reducing red tape. We also offer a highly skilled and ready workforce accompanied by easy access to global markets. We are excited to see IXON come to Alberta, and we are ready to receive other organizations that are looking to grow and prosper in our province.” — The Honorable Rajan Sawhney, Alberta Minister of Trade, Immigration and Multiculturalism
“IXON’s expansion to Edmonton is exciting news, and I couldn’t think of a better city for this successful and growing organization to thrive in. This expansion will open up employment opportunities, attract investment, amplify local innovation efforts in the Edmonton region, and promote Alberta as a leader in food technology. I welcome IXON to the Edmonton region and look forward to witnessing all they are bound to accomplish.” — Amarjeet Sohi, Edmonton Mayor
“Alberta is known for driving innovation and bringing together the right people to achieve an ambitious vision. Alberta is positioned to transform the food technology sector and modernize the food industry with collaborative partnerships between investors, post-secondary institutions, and economic development agencies being fundamental to our success.” — Rick Christiaanse, Invest Alberta CEO
“IXON’s decision to move to Alberta serves as a proof point that Alberta’s innovation ecosystem can attract and support growing start-ups, globally. CDL-Rockies exposes high-potential early-stage start-ups to the highest quality expertise and investment opportunities that will enhance their probability of success. We are proud to have played a role in IXON’s introduction to the province and look forward to following their impact on our food technology sector.” — Heather Marshall, Site Lead for Creative Destruction Lab-Rockies
“The51 Food and AgTech Fund is delighted to act as a convener, connector and curator for IXON and for the Alberta community. Alberta is Canada’s livestock industry centre and the ideal location to export new products from. We look forward to continue supporting ambitious innovators solving intractable problems, being part of their entrepreneurial journey, and helping make Alberta and Canada a destination for talents, innovations, and tech companies around the world.” — Yuan Shi, Principal of The51 Food and AgTech Fund
“Brilliant minds are at work in the Edmonton region discovering emerging technologies that are being supported by the research and development taking place at our post-secondary institutions. This announcement is another example of growing investments in innovation that are finding a unique home in the Edmonton region. IXON will benefit from locating in the Edmonton region because of its strong connectivity to the global marketplace.” — Malcolm Bruce, CEO of Edmonton Global
“We are preparing the contracts for IXON to perform microbiological challenge studies with pilot-scale equipment. This project will build on our expertise related to challenge studies for novel processing technologies and will make use of the unique facilities for pilot-scale processing in a Biosafety Level 2 environment at Agri-Food Discovery Place.” — Dr. Michael Gänzle, University of Alberta, Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Science
“As a critical partner in Alberta and Canada’s innovation ecosystem, we partner with businesses and communities to innovate and develop solutions to address industry challenges. We are intensely industry focused, working hard to understand our partner needs and supply them with the services they need to be globally competitive.” — Olle Lagerquist, Associate Vice President, Industry Solutions, Northern Alberta Institute of Technology