Growth in 2012 of biofood industry’s real GDP, investments and trade balance

Québec, February 26, 2014 – In 2012, the real gross domestic product (GDP) of the biofood industry amounted to $22.2 billion, up 0.7% from 2011. This industry accounted for 7.3% of the real GDP of Québec’s economy. This information comes from the Profil sectoriel de l’industrie bioalimentaire au Québec, édition 2013, prepared jointly by the Institut de la statistique du Québec and the ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation du Québec. This document features the industry’s main data as well as detailed information by sector.

From 2009 to 2012, the biofood industry’s real GDP posted an average annual growth of 0.9%, from $21.6 billion to $22.2 billion. During this period, crop growing and animal production, support activities for agriculture, and fishing, hunting and trapping accounted on average for 16.8% of the total real GDP, while food manufacturing (32.2%), food services (21.2%), distribution and food and beverage stores (29.8%) accounted for 83.2%.

Investments increase by 4.3%

In 2012, biofood businesses invested approximately $2.3 billion in construction, machinery and equipment, up 4.3% compared with 20111. Between 2011 and 2012, food manufacturing (+ 24.9%), food and beverage stores (+ 23.7%) and fishing, hunting and trapping (+ 7.5%) increased their investments. In contrast, food services and drinking places (– 11.5%), food wholesaler-distributors (– 0.6%) and agriculture (– 0.3%) saw their investments go down.

Employment stable

As in 2011, the biofood industry provided nearly 475,000 jobs in 2012. Between 2009 and 2012, the number of jobs in the industry decreased on average by 0.5% per year. While the industry accounted for 12.5% of Québec jobs in 2009, its share decreased to 11.9% in 2012. During this period, the employment decline was mostly observed in food and beverage stores and food wholesaler-distributors, where it decreased by an average of 3.1% and 1.9% per year respectively.  

Trade surplus of $771 million

After experiencing a trade deficit of $197 million in 2011, the biofood industry recovered with a $771-million surplus in 2012. Exports reached $6.1 billion (+ 9.1%), while imports dropped to $5.4 billion (– 7.8%). The United States remains the primary export market for Québec products with $3.3 billion, up 6.6% compared with 2011. The European Union and Japan followed with $694 million (– 10.1%) and $501 million (+ 5.1%).

A sign that Québec’s biofood industry is becoming increasingly international is the fact that both exports and imports posted an average annual growth between 2009 and 2012, with an increase of 10.8% and 3.4% respectively. During this period, product destinations have also diversified. Compared with total exports, the United States, the European Union and Japan have seen their respective relative share decline from 57.6% to 53.1%, from 12.1% to 11.3 %, and from 10.0% to 8.2%, while the other countries’ share increased from 20.3% to 27.4%.

Interestingly, sales of hogs abroad reached $1.4 billion in 2012, while oilseeds and oilseed products totalled $1.2 billion, for an average annual growth of 12.1% and 30.3% from 2009 to 2012.

Agricultural sales rise 3.7%

In 2012, agricultural sales to other sectors reached $7.6 billion, a 3.7% increase compared with 2011. Crops (+ 9.5%) and livestock products (+ 0.8%) are behind the growth. Sales of oilseed and high-protein crops (+ 49.1%), cereals (+ 8.9%) and fruits (+ 18.2%) led crop production to $2.6 billion, while poultry (+ 5.5%) and animal products (+ 2.5%) increased animal sales to $4.9 billion. Between 2009 and 2012, average annual sales to the other sectors grew by 6.0%, with animal and crop sales increasing by 5.1% and 7.6% per year respectively.

During 2009-2012, sales to other farm operations were on average $1.4 billion per year and accounted for 16.9% of the average value of total agricultural sales ($8.4 billion). Other sources of income such as program payments, government rebates and custom work generated on average $1.1 billion per year, 11.7% of the average total production value ($9.5 billion).

1. Excluding beverage and tobacco product manufacturing, for which data is confidential.




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