BU Sounds Alarm for MB Food Processing

May 2, 2014

BRANDON, MB – A new report by Manitoba’s premiere rural studies organization outlines the need for immediate industry and government action in the province’s food and beverage processing industry, to support continued growth in sales, investments and jobs in the next few years.

ReportCoverToday, the Rural Development Institute (RDI at Brandon University (BU) released Food & Beverage Processing Industry – Growth Pathways to 2020, an expansive look at a major economic driver in Manitoba. Food and beverage processing accounts for 28% of all manufacturing revenue in the province and 15% of all exports, employing 12,000 people or one in every four in the manufacturing sector.

“This report is a rare opportunity across a large sector to see the future,” says RDI Director Dr. Bill Ashton. “The good news is, effective action now can result in growth across the industry, from $4.7 billion in 2011 to $5.4 billion by 2020.”

In contrast, Dr. Ashton says a “business as usual” approach is projected to lead to less-than-optimal production in pork and potatoes, which already face market challenges, pushing the food and beverage processing industry into a $100 million decline.

“A lack of action on the part of industry and government, or ineffective action,” says Dr. Ashton, “will impact producers, processors, the communities in which they operate, and ultimately every person in the province. The message is clear – industry needs to work with government to find solutions now.”

The RDI report examines major sectors including pork, potatoes, and canola, plus the other players in the province’s food and beverage processing industry including meat, fruit and vegetables, dairy, grains and beverages. A sales profile of the industry was compiled using data from Statistics Canada and interviews with industry opinion leaders, which also helped establish trends to 2020.

“The RDI report suggests that government-industry collaboration can make a significant difference to the future of the industry. I am hopeful that this Brandon University report can serve as a catalyst for a bright future for the agri-food industry of the province,” says Dr. Gervan Fearon, BU Vice-President (Academic and Provost).   

The full report can be read here.

Brandon University, founded in 1899, promotes excellence in teaching, research, and scholarship; educating students so that they can make a meaningful difference as engaged citizens and leaders.

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For more information, please contact:
Dr. Bill Ashton
Director, Rural Development Institute
204-571-8513
ashtonw@brandonu.ca
Glen Kirby
Communications Officer
204-727-9762
kirbyg@brandonu.ca