Real GDP of the biofood industry down in 2013

Québec, January 28, 2015 – In 2013, the real gross domestic product (GDP) of the biofood industry amounted to $21.7 billion, down 0.8% from 2012. This industry accounted for 7.1% of the real GDP of the Québec economy, distributed between food, beverage and tobacco manufacturing (2.2%), food services and drinking places (1.6%), crop and animal production (1.2%), food wholesaler-distributors (1.1%) and food and beverage stores (1.0%).

From 2010 to 2013, the biofood industry’s real GDP posted an average annual negative growth of 0.4%, declining from $22.0 billion to $21.7 billion. Over this period, food and beverage stores (– 2.4% per year) and food, beverage and tobacco manufacturing (– 2.1%) recorded four consecutive years of decline. In contrast, there was an increase in real GDP for food wholesaler-distributors (+ 2.0% per year), food services and drinking places (+ 1.3%) as well as crop and animal production (+ 0.6%).

This information comes from the Profil sectoriel de l’industrie bioalimentaire au Québec, édition 2014, 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 publication provides key data on the industry as well as detailed information by sector.

Increase in investments

In 2013, biofood enterprises invested $2.6 billion in construction, machinery and equipment, up by $90.1 million compared with 2012 1. Between 2010 and 2013, their investments grew by an average of 6.2% per year, strengthened by food and beverage stores (+ $286.5 million), food services and drinking places (+ $84.9 million), food wholesaler-distributors (+ $39.1 million) and food manufacturing (+ $32.5 million).

Employment stable

In 2013, as in 2012, the biofood industry employed approximately 485,000 workers in Québec. From 2010 to 2013, the number of jobs in this industry grew by an average of 0.3% per year. Food services and drinking places (+ 14,300) and agriculture (+ 900) both contributed to this increase. Over the same period, the relative share of employment in the biofood industry in relation to the overall economy went from 12.3% to 12.0%.

Trade surplus maintained

After generating a record trade surplus of $770.7 million in 2012, the Québec biofood industry posted a trade balance of $447.2 million in 2013. Exports totalled $6.1 billion (– 1.0%), while imports were valued at $5.6 billion (+ 4.8%). Over the 2010-2013 period, the trade surplus increased by $190.5 million, an average annual growth of 20.3%.

In 2013, the United States were the primary destination for Québec products with $3.7 billion, up 14.5% compared with 2012. The European Union (EU-28) and Japan followed with $543.4 million (– 21.8%) and $447.0 million (– 10.8%) respectively. Between 2010 and 2013, in relation to total exports, the share of exports to the United States increased from 55.7% to 61.4%, while the European Union (EU-28) and Japan saw their respective relative share decline from 13.1% to 8.9% and from 9.3% to 7.3%.

Interestingly, from 2010 to 2013, the sum of exports of hogs ($5.2 billion) and oilseeds and oilseed products ($3.4 billion) reached $8.6 billion, while imports of beverages ($5.0 billion) and fruits and nuts ($2.3 billion) stood at $7.3 billion.

Agricultural sales up

In 2013, agricultural sales to other sectors totalled $7.8 billion, a 2.9% increase compared with 2012. Livestock products (+ 2.5%) and crops (+ 3.5%) were behind the growth. Sales of animals (+ $56.9 million), poultry (+ $38.1 million) and animal products          (+ $29.3 million) contributed to animal sales of $5.1 billion, while maple products (+ $78.1 million), forage crops (+ $23.0 million) and vegetables (+ $20.1 million) led to crop sales of $2.7 billion. From 2010 to 2013, average annual sales to the other sectors grew by 5.8%, with animal and crop sales increasing by 4.0% and 9.3% per year respectively.

Sales to other farms amounted to $1.1 billion and represented 12.6% of total agricultural sales ($8.9 billion). Other sources of income such as program payments, custom work, government rebates, farm land rent, and own-account production uses generated $1.0 billion, or 9.8% of total production ($9.9 billion).

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


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