July 8th, 2015
Did you know that there are roughly 6,200 processing plants in Canada? It’s a big industry. More specifically, the industry encompasses processed food and beverages, although food takes up a much larger chunk of the pie. In fact, food and beverage processing made up 2% of Canada’s GDP in 2011. These industries proliferate in the larger provinces such as Ontario and Quebec, but you can find them all over the country.
The food processing industry provides three quarters of all domestically available goods, which means that Canadians are feeding Canadians. Only about a quarter of all processed food is imported from outside of Canada—that’s why it’s so important to support the people and companies involved in the whole process.
Exports still stand at over $20 billion annually, which represents a significant amount of money going out into the world. Here are our export partners, which made up 87% of all export destinations in 2011:
- The United States consumes 67%
- Japan consumes 7%
- China consumes 7%
- Russia consumes 2%
- South Korea consumes 2%
- Mexico consumes 2%
Meat processing in Canada has a long pedigree stretching back in time. Today, processed meat is the largest processed food industry in the country. This includes everything in the process, ranging from slicing to packing. It’s such a big industry that most meat processors spend around 80% of all annual investments on machinery in order to improve or maintain the production system.
Meat accounts for a quarter of all transported processed food within Canada. It’s a big sector! It’s also the leading sector in most provinces, including Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba, Alberta, and British Columbia.
The processed Dairy sector pulls in over $13 billion every year! Ontario and Quebec contain 97 and 87 registered dairy processors, respectively. British Columbia has 33 and Alberta has 22.
You can see how the processing locations tend to match the population density in every province, but every province has at least one! The numbers change slightly with provincially licensed dairy processors: Quebec has 78, Ontario has 44, and British Columbia only has 26. The slogan drink milk love life seems to truly apply to the Canadian context!
The processed beverage industry is the smallest of the leading three, but it encompasses products without which some people just could not get through their days! Can you imagine waking up on Mondays without the same supply or variety of coffee?
Here is the industry breakdown:
- Bottled water
- Alcoholic breweries, wine, and distilleries
- Carbonated beverages
- Coffee and tea
Some of these groups are much bigger than you would think. Although we have combined the categories of breweries, wine, and distilleries for simplicity, they actually stand apart as separate sub-industries. Distilleries alone generated about $780 million in 2011, to say nothing of breweries and wine! Canada also exports a surprisingly high amount of liquor across the globe. It’s been a longstanding tradition since the United States’ Prohibition era, at the very least.
That’s your crash course in the processed food industry for today. Do you still have questions? Get in touch with us today at INAC Services to see where your business fits into the larger picture!