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, providing Canada’s processed food and beverage products and $117.8 billion in 2019 toward Canada’s national GDP.

Meat Product Manufacturing was the sub-sector with the largest workforce in 2020, employing 65,113 people, followed by Bakeries and Tortilla Manufacturing (46,691), Beverage Manufacturing (42,094) and Other Food Manufacturing (35,543). Other industries include:

  • Dairy Product Manufacturing
  • Animal Food Manufacturing
  • Grain and Oilseed Milling
  • Fruit and Vegetable Preserving, and Specialty Food Manufacturing
  • Seafood Product Preparation and Packaging
  • Sugar and Confectionery Product Manufacturing
  • Cannabis Product Manufacturing

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 7,800 food and beverage manufacturing businesses in Canada.
  • The food and beverage manufacturing industry employs over 280,000 people.
  • Men make up 60 per cent of the workforce, with the largest share of male workers in the Grain and Oilseed Milling sub-sector (74%)
  • Approximately one-third (31%) of the industry’s workforce consists of immigrants, compared to only 23% of the overall labour force.
  • The average wage of workers in the industry is $21.76 per hour as of 2018
  • 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 many of the 32,000 jobs that must be replaced by incoming individuals. In addition, 24,000 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.