What’s Canada’s Food Supply Looking Like These Days? Interview with Sylvain Charlebois

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In 2022, some food industry sectors in Canada, such as fresh produce and poultry, experienced record production. However, some sectors exported more food internationally in 2022 than in 2021, according to Statistics Canada.

“In addition, the food industry was affected by supply chain issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as shipping delays, product and labour shortages, and price increases,” said the report.

From 2021 to 2022, the amount of fresh fruit (including citrus) available declined by 5.1 per cent to 72.9 kilograms per person. A 12.7 per cent increase in production was not enough to keep pace with an increase in exports (+16.8 per cent) and manufacturing (+13.2 per cent) and a decrease in imports (-3.6 per cent). The total amount of processed fruit available per person in 2022 increased by 4.9 per cent from the previous year to 17.1 kilograms of fresh fruit equivalent, said Statistics Canada.

In this video interview, Dr. Sylvain Charlebois, Senior Director, Agri-Foods Analytics Lab, Dalhousie University, discusses the state of food production and availability in Canada as well as issues the industry is facing when it comes to supply chains, shipping, labour and prices.

Farm Boy Sugar Wharf (Image: Dustin Fuhs)

In 2022, the availability of fresh vegetables (excluding potatoes) was 64.7 kilograms per person, a decrease of 5.9 per cent from 2021. While fresh vegetable production increased 3.9 per cent in 2022, imports declined 7.5 per cent and exports rose 7.8 per cent. Similarly, the availability of processed vegetables (35.0 kilograms of fresh equivalent per person) decreased by 3.2 per cent from 2021, said Statistics Canada.

“From 2021 to 2022, total poultry availability increased by 1.5 per cent to 25.5 kilograms (boneless weight) per person. Poultry exports were down 11.0 per cent from 2021. Red meat availability increased by 4.3 per cent in 2022, compared with 2021, to 32.4 kilograms (boneless weight) per person. Beef availability led the way in 2022, at 15.5 kilograms (boneless weight) per person (+2.9 per cent from 2021), as cattle slaughter increased from 2021. Pork availability in 2022 was 14.7 kilograms (boneless weight) per person (+6.6 per cent from 2021), as exports declined by 5.1 per cent from 2021,” added the report.

“From 2021 to 2022, egg availability increased by 0.6 per cent to 21.5 dozens per person, as egg production increased for the 18th straight year.

The availability of total milk decreased by 3.9 per cent in 2022, compared with 2021, to 58.6 litres per person. This was primarily caused by a drop in production of one percent milk and two percent milk. Total cheese availability decreased 1.4 per cent to 14.2 kilograms per person from 2021 to 2022. The amount of total cheese available in Canada increased by 0.4 per cent from 2021 but was outpaced by Canadian population growth.

“Availability of wheat flour increased by 2.0 per cent to 59.2 kilograms per person in 2022, compared with 2021. This gain was driven by improved growing conditions across Western Canada, which yielded a 4.1 per cent increase in wheat flour production, compared with 2021.”

The Video Interview Series by Retail Insider is available on YouTube.

Connect with Mario Toneguzzi, a veteran of the media industry for more than 40 years and named in 2021 a Top Ten Business Journalist in the world and the only Canadian – to learn how you can tell your story, share your message and amplify it to a wide audience. He is Senior News Editor with Retail Insider and owner of Mario Toneguzzi Communications Inc. and can be reached at mdtoneguzzi@gmail.com.

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Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior News Editor with Retail Insider in addition to working as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training. Mario was named as a RETHINK Retail Top Retail Expert in 2024.

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