Export Development Canada (EDC) has announced its investment in P&P Optica (PPO), an Ontario-based firm that uses imaging and machine-learning to assess food composition, quality and detect contamination.

An investment of C$1m ($762,930) from EDC is expected to improve the Canadian food supply and reduce waste in the country’s landfills.

EDC senior vice-president for financing and international growth capital Carl Burlock said: “As an EDC ‘Ones to Watch’ award recipient, P&P Optica is the kind of cleantech company that we are proud to partner with. We recognise how their unique technology reduces food waste and the environmental impacts that come with it.

“Supporting Canadian cleantech companies and helping them grow and succeed internationally is a top priority for EDC. We look forward to seeing PPO evolve beyond Canadian borders by offering the global food industry access to viable solutions.”

“The investment from EDC will help us both further develop our technology and expand into the US and other markets as we work towards becoming a global company.”

PPO’s Smart Imaging System is deployed in food processing plants. It uses imaging technology and artificial intelligence to detect the chemistry of food. This process, in turn, enables processors to assess quality characteristics such as protein, fat and water content, shelf life, and flavour of the food product.

Additionally, the feature is expected to enhance food safety significantly.

Funding will be used by the company to advance the development of PPO’s Smart Imaging Systems, as well as deployment into food processing plants across North America.

P&P Optica CEO Olga Pawluczyk said: “Improving food quality and safety is extremely important to us while reducing the environmental footprint that comes with food waste. The investment from EDC will help us both further develop our technology and expand into the US and other markets as we work towards becoming a global company.

“In turn, this will ensure that food processors can assess and respond to risks in the quality and safety of their food more quickly and effectively than ever before.”