Biofood industry in 2014: $21.6 billion in real GDP, $2.0 billion in investments and 483,000 jobs

Québec, January 27, 2016 – In 2014, the real gross domestic product (GDP) of the biofood industry amounted to $21.6 billion1, up 1.6% from 2013. This industry accounted for 7.0% of the real GDP of the Québec economy, distributed between food, beverage and tobacco manufacturing (2.3%), food services and drinking places (1.6%), agriculture (1.1%), food wholesaler-distributors (1.0%) and food and beverage stores (1.0%).

Between 2011 and 2014, the real GDP of the biofood industry increased by $238.6 million and posted an average annual growth of 0.4%, a lower growth rate than that of the Québec economy as a whole (+1.3%). Over that period, food, beverage and tobacco manufacturing (+ $343.7 million), food services and drinking places (+ $86.2 million) and agriculture (+ $11.3 million) saw their real GDP rise, while food wholesaler-distributors (- $203.9 million) and food and beverage stores (- $18.9 million) registered a decline.

This information comes from the Profil sectoriel de l’industrie bioalimentaire au Québec, édition 2015, prepared jointly by the Institut de la statistique du Québec and the Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation du Québec. That publication provides key data on the industry as well as detailed information by sector.

$2.0 billion in investments

In 2014, biofood businesses2 invested $2.0 billion in acquisitions, construction, machinery and equipment, and accounted for 5.6% of total investment in Québec. These investments were split between agriculture ($621.3 million), food services and drinking places ($481.5 million), food and beverage stores ($417.2 million), food manufacturing ($362.6 million) and food wholesaler-distributors ($158.7 million).

483,000 jobs

The biofood industry employed 483,000 workers in 2014. The number of jobs in that industry remained stable during the years 2011-2014 and accounted on average for 12.0% of jobs in Québec. Food services and drinking places (207,900), food and beverage stores (126,400), food, beverage and tobacco manufacturing (61,900) and agriculture (55,800) provided most of the jobs in the industry in 2014.

Trade surplus of $395.9 million

In 2014, for the third consecutive year, the Québec biofood industry posted a positive trade balance of $395.9 million, after registering surpluses of $770.5 million in 2012 and $447.1 million in 2013. Exports totalled $7.0 billion, up 15.2% from 2013, while imports were valued at $6.6 billion (+17.3%). From 2011 to 2014, exports and imports recorded an average annual increase of 7.5% and 4.3% respectively.

The United States remained the primary market for Québec products, with exports totalling $4.3 billion, followed by the European Union ($755.9 million) and Japan ($458.5 million). Between 2011 and 2014, in relation to total exports, the share of exports to the United States increased from 54.3% to 61.7%, while the European Union (13.7% to 10.8%) and Japan (8.5% to 6.5%) saw their respective relative share decline.

Hog exports hit a record high of $1.5 billion in 2014, up by $170.8 million from 2013. From 2011 to 2014, hog exports totalled more than $5.6 billion and grew by an average of 4.7% per year.

Agricultural sales totalled $8.1 billion

Agricultural sales to other sectors rose for the fifth consecutive year, reaching $8.1 billion in 2014, a growth of 3.7% from 2013. This increase was due to animal production (+9.3%), which offset the decline in crop production (-6.5%). Sales of animals (+ $427.3 million) and animal products (+ $71.3 million) contributed to animal sales of $5.5 billion. Conversely, sales of grains (- $111.8 million) and oilseed and protein crops (- $79.7 million) caused crop production sales to drop to $2.6 billion.

Sales to other farms totalled $1.2 billion and represented 12.4% of the total production value ($10.0 billion), while other sources of income such as program payments, custom work, government rebates, farm land rent, and own-account production uses generated $0.7 billion (7.3%). The total value of production registered an average annual growth of 2.3% during the years 2011-2014.


1. Real GDP is given at 2007 prices.

2. Excluding beverage and tobacco product manufacturing, for which data are confidential.

The Institut de la statistique du Québec produces, analyses and disseminates official, objective and quality statistical information on various aspects of Québec society. It is the statistical coordinator for Québec and the relevance of its work makes it a strategic ally for decision makers and all those wishing to learn more about Québec.


  • Éric Massicotte
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    Biofood Analyst
    Phone: 418-691-2411, Ext. 3049
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