Vaughan Economic Development was at Anuga – here’s what we learned from the world’s largest gathering of food companies.

This article was contributed by Raphael Costa

To support Vaughan’s agri-food and food processing sectornearly 500 companies and 22,000 employees strong – members of the City of Vaughan’s Economic Development team joined York Link | York Region Economic Development, the Ontario Food Cluster and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada/ Agriculture et Agroalimentaire Canada at the Anuga 2023 trade fair for food and beverages in Cologne, Germany from Oct. 7 to 11.



Immersed in the world’s largest gathering of food and beverage companies, Vaughan was among leading players in the industry, including Riverside Natural Foods Ltd. (Home of MadeGood) and UNFI, which have locations in the city.

Here are four key takeaways for Vaughan’s food business community from #Anuga2023:

Canada, Ontario and the Greater Toronto Area’s (GTA) diversity is globally recognized. Diversity makes the GTA a desirable market for global business investment.

While at Anuga 2023, our Economic Development team connected with dozens of companies to explore interest in expanding into Vaughan and doing business with Canada. From our conversations, we learned the GTA is well known for its #diversity. Global food companies report seeing the value of working with Vaughan’s community – where more than 110 languages are spoken – as a gateway to the Canadian market.



Sustainable food is no longer just a trend for consumers; it is a must in many cases. Companies need to be transparent about their sustainability efforts.

The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) estimates that 10 per cent of global greenhouse emissions result from food waste. Upcycling in the food industry, taking a more critical look at the supply chain and adopting circular economy practices are just some ways businesses are tackling food waste.

Too Good To Go, for example, is working with more than 180,000 companies worldwide to offer food to consumers that otherwise would have been wasted by restaurants at the end of a serving day or retail outlets with products set to expire. This reduces food waste and helps companies monetize more of their inventory.

By partnering with companies like Too Good to Go – such as former Activate!Vaughan participant Be One to Give – organizations can reduce food waste and demonstrate to consumers they are serious about #sustainability. Increased messaging on food packaging is another way companies are being transparent about their sustainability practices.



New farming practices are emerging to meet global food demand.

Feeding a growing population is going to be increasingly challenging. Within the next 60 years, some estimates suggest the world’s topsoil will be exhausted. To keep food supplies at the levels we need to sustain growth, new models like #UrbanFarming and regenerative farming are taking hold.

With Vaughan’s recent Zoning By-law amendment, vertical urban farming is now permitted in employment zones. This model can help maximize land for food production. In Cologne, for example, an urban mushroom farm, which took up space in a former catering facility, takes up just 8,600 square feet and is powered by ten staff to produce 700 kilograms of mushrooms per week. To add to the value its operation provides, the farm is at the centre of a circular economy and uses organic waste from the restaurants it supplies to further feed its crop.



New technology is changing the way people shop and the way companies deliver food to consumers.

Data analytics and tools like virtual and augmented reality are technologies increasingly woven into business practices in non-technical industries. For example, Arla Foods, a Danish company with an expanding presence in Vaughan, has integrated data collection and analytics to maximize inputs into its dairy operation. This means they can reduce the wasted fertilizer and feed used to produce dairy.

In another instance of the use of #technology, retail operations are increasingly adopting virtual and augmented reality in everything from service calls to training to sales. This reduces training costs and could soon enhance online sales experiences.



To learn more about how to grow your food business in Vaughan, visit You can also email us at to request a corporate call from one of our Economic Development Officers, who can help you with business advice and insights.