Halifax, N.S. – The food processing industry in Atlantic Canada has been hit hard by consolidation, says a new report.
The Atlantic Provinces Economic Council says the region’s work force has been reduced and food processing plants have been cut by nearly 25 per cent, says The Canadian Press.
In fact, the council says about 21,000 workers were employed in more than 800 plants across the region last year, but that’s 10,300 fewer workers than in 2005.
The drop represents 86 per cent of all employment reductions in food manufacturing nationally, says The Canadian Press.
Fred Bergman, a senior policy analyst, told The Canadian Press that declining catches of 25 per cent over the period saw the seafood industry hardest hit, although it remains the largest part of the region’s food manufacturing sector.
Even with fewer operations Atlantic food manufacturing shipments expanded by almost one-quarter over the last decade, says the council, although that number was significantly below national levels where sales increased 41 per cent.
In 2014, food manufacturing sales were $7.3 billion or about 22 per cent of the region’s overall manufacturing sales, says The Canadian Press.
The report says an increased focus on exports to countries with a rising per capita consumption of seafood such as China could provide the sector with opportunities for growth.