Regional food clusters and government support for clustering: Evidence for a ‘dynamic food innovation cluster’ in Alberta, Canada?
Location-based clusters and virtual cluster configurations have received significant attention from policymakers due to their potential implications on productivity, innovation and regional growth. This paper presents a short review of studies that have analyzed clustering activity in the food sectors of several countries. The key insights from these studies with regard to the underlying factors for clustering success are contrasted with empirical evidence from the food processing sector of Alberta, Canada. This includes the presentation of results from an exploratory firm-level survey on government support for clustering activity in Alberta’s food. Considering the level of government support for innovation, the limited access to supporting business infrastructure, and the lack of effective networking between industry stakeholders, we find little evidence for an emerging innovation cluster in Alberta’s food industry.
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