Food and Beverage Canada – The National Industry Perspective
Latest numbers on the food and beverage manufacturing industry tell a compelling Canadian story. Food and Beverage processors are the leading manufacturing employer in the country providing jobs for 250,000+ people at 11,000 manufacturing facilities. These businesses, located in urban centers and rural communities across the country, supply about 75% of all the processed food and drink consumed by Canadians. Domestic sales alone in 2017 were valued at $110 billion.
Food and beverage manufacturing businesses are not only an economic engine for every province across this country, they are also a place for meaningful employment, and play a lead role in the health and wellbeing of Canadians.
This is the story that Food and Beverage Canada, located in Ottawa, is sharing as the industry’s chief advocate and spokesperson with the federal government. Launched less than a year ago, the organization was created and developed by BC Food Processors Association, Food and Beverage Manitoba, Food and Beverage Ontario, CTAQ and Food & Beverage Atlantic. These associations recognized the importance of having a strong national group to complement their own work at the regional and provincial level.
“The way Food and Beverage Canada has been structured really works for us. As a founding member of the organization we can provide a BC food processor perspective on federal issues and offer our support to unified, coast to coast Canadian industry positions.” James Donaldson, CEO, BC Food Processors Association
Food and Beverage Canada’s Strategic Plan focuses on three key priorities - labour, regulatory processes and competitiveness - for a successful industry.
The organization’s labour strategy, People, Careers and Workforce Development uses the federal government’s Agri-food Economic Strategy Table Report as its starting point. That report calls on the agriculture and food sectors to increase domestic sales to $140 billion and export sales to $85 billion by 2025 - a 30% increase over 2017 levels. This is an ambitious goal given the latest research from Food Processing Skills Canada that identifies a requirement of 65,000 additional employees, or 8,000 net new hires per year, to achieve 2025 targets.
Food and Beverage Canada’s labour strategy was recently presented to industry and government members of the Food Processing Value Chain Round Table. The strategy was well received, and it was agreed that to address all aspects of the labour situation, groups must work together.
A number of other federal policies and announcements of interest to processors are being actively monitored and addressed by Food and Beverage Canada.
The federal government recently announced it will ban single use plastics by 2021 and will work with provincial and territorial governments on other measures to reduce plastics in the environment. This announcement follows Canada’s commitments to the G7 Oceans Plastics Charter and the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment’s Zero Plastic Waste Strategy. Industry understands that packaging serves an important purpose for portion control, convenience and food safety and that the development of new and innovative packaging options must be made a priority.
Key elements of the federal government’s Healthy Eating Strategy are awaiting implementation. This includes regulations to implement Front of Package Nutrition Labelling and Bill S228 - Child Health Protection Act – which will prohibit the marketing of food and beverage products to children under 13 years of age.
The federal government recently announced Canada’s Food Policy as a roadmap for a healthier and more sustainable food system. Key themes include Local Food Infrastructure, Northern Isolated Community Initiatives, Buy Canadian Promotion Campaign, Reducing Food Waste, Tackling Food Fraud and a National School Food Program. The Food Policy will also include establishing a Canadian Food Policy Advisory Council.
As promised in last year’s Fall Economic Statement, the federal government has also released its Agri-food and Aquaculture Regulatory Roadmap – a list of measures intended to modernize and simplify regulations impacting food and beverage manufacturers. Included is a new Advisory Committee on Regulatory Competitiveness with which Food and Beverage Canada is active in communicating the importance of regulatory innovation.
This coming fall, Food and Beverage Canada will be hosting an Innovation Roundtable to craft an industry innovation strategy and establish goalposts for success. The roundtable will be complemented by a cross-country Innovation Tour that will be attended by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, involve provincial associations and include manufacturing facility visits.
To learn more about Food and Beverage Canada or to get involved visit www.fbc-abc.com