Report on Canadian Food Sector Competitiveness

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

A summary from a larger study on Canada’s food sector competitiveness has been released by the Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute (CAPI), “Canadian Agri-Food Processing Competitiveness, Quality Growth and Global Opportunities: A Snapshot of Current Trends Key Findings”.

The study was undertaken by SJT Solutions for CAPI to determine if the Canadian food and beverage (FB) processing sector has made progress in expanding exports, reducing its trade deficit, and becoming more competitive since 2012, when CAPI first began its work looking at the competitiveness of the sector.

Additionally, the study aimed to determine how the sector will benefit from recent trade agreements that Canada has signed, as well as determine the feasibility of achieving export growth targets that were set by the Agri-Food Economic Strategy Tables (AFEST) in 2018. In 2017, the Advisory Council on Economic Growth (ACEG) had identified Canada’s agriculture and agri-food sector as a key strategic growth sector with “a strong endowment and untapped and significant growth potential.”

The summary analysis also describes some of the challenges and opportunities facing the sector, while answering questions such as:

  • Are the new trade agreements providing opportunities for Canada’s agri-food sector and increasing exports?
  • Is the current policy environment supportive of the processing sector?
  • Does the sector have sufficient capacity to add more value at home to mitigate against the disruptions in the global trading environment?

Several interesting stats are offered in the analysis. For instance, many Canadian FB processing exports have improved their competitiveness in world markets since 2009, with the largest improvement experienced by cocoa (up 55.2%) and meat and fish preparations (21.8%). Meanwhile, the number of food manufacturing establishments declined by 4% over the 2009 to 2018 period, but increased sharply for beverage manufacturing (50%).

The study concludes with some implications for policy and industry strategies to support the sector’s future growth and competitiveness.

“If the environment is right, then the future can be promising for the Canadian FB processing industry and it could face the challenges and benefit from the opportunities emerging in global and domestic markets,” page 32 of the summary report shares.

Access the report online here, which is where all of the above information is from.