National Data

Everything you need to know about the pan-Canadian food and beverage manufacturing industry.

Canada’s Food & Beverage Processing Sector

The food and beverage manufacturing industry is a powerhouse in Canada’s manufacturing sector, providing 70% of Canada’s processed food and beverage products and $110 billion annually toward Canada’s national GDP.

The largest food and beverage processing sector in terms of revenue in the industry is meat product manufacturing which accounted for 25% of all shipments and $26.3 billion in 2014. Dairy product manufacturing is the second largest industry with annual sales of $17.3 billion, followed by grain and oilseed milling with sales of $10.6 billion. Other industries include:

  • Bakeries and tortilla manufacturing ($8.4 billion)
  • Animal food manufacturing ($7.5 billion)
  • Fruit and vegetable preserving, and specialty food manufacturing ($7.3 billion)
  • Seafood product preparation and packaging ($4.6 billion)
  • Sugar and confectionery product manufacturing ($4.1 billion)
  • Other food manufacturing ($9.1 billion)

Many provinces and remote areas within Canada rely on the revenue generated from local food and beverage businesses. For example, in PEI the seafood industry is a large contributor to the local economy and provides jobs to thousands across the province.

More Industry Highlights

  • There are over 12,200 food and beverage manufacturing businesses in Canada.
  • The food and beverage manufacturing industry employs over 280,000 people.
  • Women represent 39.9% of workers in the food and beverage processing industry, compared to 47.4% in all industries.
  • 31% of the workforce consists of new Canadians, with most having arrived in Canada between 1991 and 2010.
  • The average wage of workers in the industry is around 21 per hour.
  • Some of the most common positions in the industry include supervisors, labourers, testers and graders, process control and machine operators, fish plant workers, industrial butchers and meat cutters, poultry preparers and related workers.

Labour Outlook

Canada’s food and beverage manufacturing industry is already a key player on the export stage and there is significant potential for export market growth.

However, approximately 1/5 of employees in the industry are between 55 and 64 years of age, and are set to retire in the next 10 years. These positions represent approximately 44,000 jobs that must be replaced by incoming individuals. In addition, 20,000 jobs will require new people to meet the industry's growth targets.

It is incumbent that the industry support development of a skilled and competent workforce through strategic recruitment and retention, a culture of training and upskilling and a positive workplace environment. Food Processing Skills Canada facilitates much of this work in support of food and beverage manufacturers from coast to coast.