Centre for Food Policy Research
  1. PhD students
Food Policy

Dr Mary Ellen Hodgins

PhD work

Innovation policy in Canada's agri-food system:  The functional food and natural health products' segment.


  • 2011: PhD in Food Policy, City University
  • Master of Business Administration, University of Saskatchewan
  • Bachelor of Arts, University of Western Ontario

The study

The research conducted a general review of the food system in Canada as well as a specific focus on innovation in the functional food and natural health products' segment.  It also examined the public policy environment that enables innovation.  The research concluded that the food system  is comprised of complex demand networks that  work on various elements of innovation.  The findings add new knowledge by expanding the multi-dimensional definition of innovation to include human elements. 

Why it matters for food policy

The major conclusion of the research is that current government policies and programs in Canada are a drag on innovation in the functional food, natural health products and food sectors.  A paradigm shift is required to a solutions-led approach that results in public and private policies targeting solutions for a healthier Canada combining human, environmental and societal health. 

Employment and interests

Mary Ellen is President of Hodgins & Company Management Consultants Inc. based in Port Moody, British Columbia, Canada.  She has over twenty-one years of consulting experience focusing on the bio-based sectors of the economy working extensively with various actors in the food system: private industry; associations; research institutes; and government.