The Consortium for Research, Innovation, and the Transformation of Agri-Food (RITA), founded in 2017 at McGill University’s Macdonald Campus, aims to support Quebec's food processing sector by catalyzing innovation and knowledge transfer between the research community and the industry.
"Innovation for the development of a prosperous, sustainable and Quebec-focused food processing sector."
The Consortium RITA takes a unique co-creation approach to research to strengthen relationships between the sector’s many stakeholders, leveraging the synergy of available resources to maximize our impact. The Consortium is supported by funding from the Quebec Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPAQ) and benefits from a close partnership with the Conseil de la Transformation Alimentaire du Québec (CTAQ).
Strengthening the food processing industry through collaborative innovation
To reinvigorate the food processing sector through research, making it one of the most dynamic manufacturing sectors
Collaboration, pre-competition, communication, positive change and long-term value creation
Since its creation, the Consortium RITA has encouraged food processing companies to jointly carry out pre-competitive research activities that serve the scientific and technological interests of the sector. The Consortium has since diversified its activities to include competitive research projects, technology transfer activities, and a food product development laboratory. Overall, the Consortium RITA’s platforms strengthen competition, accelerate knowledge transfer between the research field and the industry, and promote the availability of safe, healthy, and valuable on the Quebec market.
Prioritizing innovation in the promotion of sustainability and food autonomy
The Consortium RITA develops and supports research, innovation, and technology transfer activities in all food processing sectors in Quebec, helping companies become competitive and promote food autonomy and sustainable eating. Our priorities include product innovation, technological process innovation, food safety, and supply chain management.
This priority gives rise to projects aiming to develop food products and ingredient substitutes that allow “clean label” food products, free of additives perceived to be “chemical” by consumers. These bio-sourced ingredients include antimicrobials, stabilizers, sweeteners, antioxidants, and flavor enhancers. Under the scope of this priority, nutritional property improvement strategies and consumer perception studies have also emerged.
Our process innovation priority focuses on developing and optimizing new food processing technologies to improve product characteristics such as food safety, shelf life, sensory properties, as well as quality control and detection. Process efficiency is also frequently examined to improve energy efficiency, minimize losses, and revalue co-products in accordance with circular economy principles.
Food safety covers a broad spectrum of human health and quality interests. It includes topics such as pathogen and food spoilage organism detection methods, new sanitation strategies and products, traceability tools and principles, risk management, and more.
This priority allows for the development of alternative solutions and logistics tools to ensure effective management of the supply chain. For example, projects may result in the development intelligent technologies to improve decision-making processes, optimizing the supply chain and decreasing losses and environmental impacts.