Canadaâs market for food and beverages is an estimated $84 billion in 2010 and is projected to grow at a rate of 4.6% annually through 2014.
Food and Drink sector in Canada
Canada?s market for food and beverages is an estimated $84 billion in 2010 and is projected to grow at a rate
of 4.6% annually through 2014.
The grocery market is highly concentrated with the top five retailers accounting for 80% of total
? Comprised of over 21,200 food stores.
? Stores are large conventional supermarket and convenience store formats, and
independents which are either franchised or unaffiliated.
Beer and liquor stores and agencies sold $19.9 billion worth of alcoholic beverages during the
fiscal year ending March 31, 2010, up 2.8% from the previous year. Beer remained the alcoholic
drink of choice for Canadians.
Spirits ? sales of $4.9 billion during the year ending March 31, 2010, up 0.7% from the previous
year. This gain was mainly due to a 4.3% increase in vodka sales and a 3.0% gain in rum sales.
Canada now ranks as the world's 5th biggest wine importing country by volume totaling 29
million cases in 2009; growth is expected to reach up to 35 million cases by 2014. Imported
wines represented 72% of Canada's total wine consumption.
Several fundamental trends will affect food & drink:
? Ethnic foods - Canadian society is culturally and ethnically diverse with a strong
European, Asian and Southeast Asian roots. Immigration accounts for 60% of Canadian
population growth and 16% of Canadians are ethnic minorities. Shoppers are demanding
greater availability of ethnic foods, both at grocery stores and restaurants.
? Value - the Canadian consumer has been hit hard by the recent recession, although the
food industry overall remained relatively unscathed. Lower priced private label items have
gained market share with 38% of consumers reporting that they are more likely to buy
more of these products. Although economic conditions are improving, consumers will
likely remain cautious.
? Sustainability - consumers actively seek out sustainability food claims on food products
across the entire supply chain, from farm to kitchen table, paying more attention to the
amount packaging being used in food products, the environmental footprint of the
ingredients and processes utilised to bring a particular product to the grocery shelf.
? Convenience - is influencing consumer food choices. Food retailers are responding to this
demand by offering more in-store delis and ready to eat prepared foods such as salad,
chicken, sushi, while food manufacturers have introduced an increasing selection of frozen
and prepared meals for consumers seeking a quick meal from the grocery store.
? Boomers - have been big drivers of the healthy food trend, but as they reach into their 60s
and 70s, they want more. One example: the easier-to-open jar called the ?Orbit?. Canada
has an aging population with many seniors having a greater disposable income.
? Meat - Canada has relaxed restrictions regarding meat imports from Europe, all meat and
poultry are eligible for market entry with the exception of Beef. Lamb has approved
market access: The Canadian market currently relies on imports of chilled and frozen lamb
from New Zealand and Australia, supported by fresh domestic lamb and live animals from
the USA. There is a growing appetite for lamb as an alternative to other red meats,
currently led by demand amongst immigrant groups. The Canadian market is currently
under served by the quantity of fresh/ frozen lamb available for consumers.
Latest export opportunities ? Food & Drink
Latest export opportunities - Canada
Getting into the market
Within the Food & Drinks sector routes into the Canadian market it is recommended that most
new entrants secure the services of a broker and/or local distributor who has representation
nation-wide who understands the market landscape.
Brokers and distributors are considered a one stop shop, providing guidance on best business
practices, sales contacts, market and merchandising programs, logistics support and government
Specialty food products are procured through independent food retailers who specialise in the
niche gourmet market.
Labelling: All food packaged for consumer use and imported into Canada must comply with
basic food labelling requirements; include the common name of the food, a list of ingredients and
components, the name and address of the responsible party, a net quantity declaration in metric
and a ?best before? date when required. All mandatory labelling information is required to be
declared in both French and English. Additional information on labelling is available from
Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
More about doing business in Canada
Market intelligence is critical when doing business overseas, and UKTI can provide bespoke
market research and support during overseas visits though our chargeable Overseas Market
Introduction Service (OMIS).
To commission research or for general advice about the market, get in touch with our specialists
based overseas - or contact your local international trade team.
Valerie Strand, Trade Officer (Healthcare)
British Consulate-General Toronto
T: +1 416 593 1290 x 2229
Contact your local international trade team
UKTI runs a range of events for exporters, including seminars in the UK, trade missions to
overseas markets and support for attendance at overseas trade shows.
Latest events ? Food & Drink
? Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association
? Grocery Innovations
? SIAL Canada
More about OMIS and other UKTI services for exporters