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Catalogue to success: Building on record B.C. agrifood exports

December 8, 2016

B.C. food businesses sold more products outside of Canada than ever before in 2015, with exports reaching a record $3.5 billion, and that number is anticipated to grow as the Governments of Canada and British Columbia continue efforts to promote high-quality B.C. food overseas.

One way the two governments are working with B.C. companies to build on the almost 20% growth in exports from 2014 is through an Export Ready Business Catalogue. The catalogue features close to 100 B.C. producers of fruits and vegetables, seafood, meat, packaged food, natural health products and beverage makers, and all of them are ready to sell. Each profile includes an introduction to the company or association and their products, their current export markets, and markets they are interested in expanding to. The guide represents B.C.’s diverse agri-food and seafood sector, and includes everything from sea urchins to cereals, and waffles to wine. The guides will be available in multiple languages, online and at trade offices and shows.

B.C. companies exported more than 600 types of foods to over 150 markets in 2015. As Canada’s westernmost province, B.C. is perfectly located to send fresh and tasty B.C. agri-food and seafood products to the Asia Pacific region, and consumers there are interested, with China and South Korea both among the fastest growing major markets in 2015.

The B.C. government has focused on helping the province’s agri-food businesses expand sales through a network of 13 international trade offices, and trade missions have established and fostered relationships with buyers from around the world. This is in addition to the Government of Canada’s trade offices and on-going trade missions around the world. The two governments also deliver a $4.3-million program that provides matching funds to support B.C. industry participation at international tradeshows, promotional events, incoming and outgoing trade missions, and to develop marketing materials for international audiences.

The Export Ready Business Catalogue was funded through Growing Forward 2, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative that provides a $3-billion investment over five years in innovation, competitiveness and market development.

Quotes:

Lawrence MacAulay, Federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food –

“Canadian agri-food and seafood products are among the best in the world. This investment will help showcase these high quality products internationally, resulting in more market opportunities, growth and jobs for the Canadian agri-food sector.”

Norm Letnick, B.C. Minister of Agriculture –

“The partnership between the B.C. and federal governments and B.C. food companies has resulted in a 20% growth in exports in one year, and a new record of $3.5 billion set in 2015. The Export-Ready Catalogue unveiled today builds on that by introducing almost 100 B.C. companies that are ready to sell to buyers worldwide, and showcases the innovation, entrepreneurship and high quality products made by British Columbians and enjoyed worldwide.”

Marco Mazzucco, Asti Holdings Group –

“Being an Italian immigrant family it was natural for us to see the market opportunities for our products beyond Canada. What a ride it’s been! We’ve worked hard to get our Golden Bonbon almond nougat products on local store shelves and in premium supermarkets in Japan, Korea, China and throughout most of South East Asia. This catalogue will help even more B.C. companies start their own journey of looking, working, travelling and exporting. B.C. has a diverse range of premium products that discerned consumers are waiting for. Now all we need is thicker passports!”

Chelsea Sang, Pacific Rim Shellfish –

“The Growing Forward 2 program has proven to be instrumental with our business’ success. Now with the new Export Ready Business Catalogue, we are excited to be able to have yet another resourceful tool for us to build and develop opportunities with buyers from around the world.”

David Lee Kwen, Misty Mountain Specialties –

“Since 2000, Misty Mountain Specialties has been exporting internationally with the help of the federal and provincial governments. Trading has become much simpler and more effective through these partnerships, and the catalogue is another way for B.C. companies to build on that.”

Peter Xotta, vice president, planning and operations at Vancouver Fraser Port Authority –

“These types of investments to support local businesses and help increase the province’s international exports also reflect the priorities of the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority to grow the port in a sustainable manner to effectively facilitate Canada’s increasing trade. The Port of Vancouver plays a vital economic role by connecting Canadians with the global marketplace and we work closely with government and industry to meet Canada’s trade objectives.”

Quick Facts:

  • B.C.’s top five 2015 agrifood export markets were U.S. ($2.5 billion), China ($343 million), Japan ($186 million), Hong Kong ($63 million) and South Korea ($54 million).
  • The fastest growing of the top 10 export markets in 2015 were South Korea (63%), Ukraine (56%), China (33%), the United Kingdom (25%) and the United States (24%).
  • Of the $3.5 billion, B.C. exported $2.4 billion worth of agri-food products to about 150 markets in 2015, an increase in value of 23% over 2014.
  • The top five agri-food exports in 2015 were $294 million in food preparations for manufacturing; $218 million in blueberries; $159 million in baked goods; $131 million in mushrooms; and $124 million in chocolate and cocoa preparations.
  • The remaining $1.1 billion were exports of B.C. seafood products to 79 markets, an increase of 15% in value from 2014.
  • The top five seafood export products in 2015 were $411 million in farmed Atlantic salmon; $116 million in crabs; $50 million in shrimp and prawns; $44 million in hake; and $44 million in geoduck clams.

Learn More:

B.C. Export-Ready Business Catalogue (best viewed in Firefox or Chrome): http://www.britishcolumbia.ca/agrifood-seafood-export-catalogue

B.C. Agrifood Sector Snapshot – production and export statistics for 2015: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/farming-natural-resources-and-industry/agriculture-and-seafood/statistics/industry-and-sector-profiles/sector-snapshots/bcsector_snapshot2015_feb_2017_update.pdf

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