Guelph, Ont. – Food processors in Ontario are looking beyond the border when it comes to business, says a new report.
Food and Beverage Ontario’s (FBO) latest report found that exports from Ontario’s 3,000 processors have increased 12 per cent over a two-year period.
The report found that exports now total $7.6 billion annually.
FBO says reasons for export growth include:
• Ontario’s international reputation for food and drink as wholesome and safe
• Population growth and widening middle class in developing countries.
FBO goes onto say that trade agreements such as the Canada and E.U. Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) have the potential to open significant new markets through removal of market tariffs and non-tariff barriers.
The flip side
The report also found that over the same period imports to Ontario increased by 20 per cent totalling $14.1 billion annually.
The FBO says that means there is a significant untapped potential in the province’s domestic market.
“We have learned from this report that there is opportunity for Ontario processors to replace imported finished products, commodities and ingredients, especially as the recent softening of the Canadian dollar assists our processors with more competitive pricing,” says Norm Beal, CEO of FBO.
Ontario’s food and beverage processing industry contributes more than $40 billion in revenue to the provincial economy.
In fact, food and beverage manufacturing and agriculture generate more revenue annually than the province’s motor vehicle manufacturing sector.
The FBO says the food and beverage industry also provides 132,000 direct jobs with a further 172,000 jobs generated through indirect employment.
“This industry finds itself at the right time and the right place,” says Michael Burrows, treasurer of FBO and CEO of Maple Lodge Farms.
“We have a trade imbalance that can be nimbly corrected with the addition of new hires to maximize capacity utilization, new product and packaging innovation and marketing support that targets both domestic and export consumers.”
The full report, which was completed by MNP LLP and commissioned by the FBO, can be viewed at www.foodandbeverageontario.ca.