Québec biofood industry: from 2012 to 2015, growth of real GDP, decrease in investments and employment stability

Québec, January 31, 2017 – In 2015, the real gross domestic product (GDP) of the biofood industry at 2007 prices attained a summit of 22.0 billion dollars, broken down as follows: food, beverage and tobacco manufacturing ($7.1 billion); food services and drinking places ($4.9 billion); agriculture, fishing, hunting and trapping ($3.8 billion); food stores ($3.2 billion); and food product wholesalers-distributors ($3.0 billion). The real GDP of the biofood industry rose by 790.0 million dollars between 2012 and 2015, and its contribution to the real GDP for Québec’s entire economy was established at 7.0% in both 2012 and 2015.

From 2012 to 2015, the real GDP of the biofood industry posted an average annual increase of 1.2%, identical to that of Québec’s economy (+1.2%). Over this period, agriculture, fishing, hunting and trapping (+$434.2 million); food, beverage and tobacco manufacturing (+$366.1 million); food services and drinking places (+$100.7 million); and food stores (+$32.0 million) saw their real GDP rise, while that of food product wholesalers-distributors (–$143.0 million) declined.

This information is drawn from the Profil sectoriel de l’industrie bioalimentaire au Québec, édition 2016, 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 from 2012 to 2015, as well as detailed information by sector.

Decline in investments

In 2015, biofood businesses invested $1.9 billion in acquisitions, construction, materials and equipment, a $255.7 million drop in comparison with 2012. From 2012 to 2015, biofood investments dropped an average of 4.1% annually (–5.6% for the Québec economy as a whole). Over this period, the relative share of capital expenditures in the biofood industry in the economy as a whole edged upwards from 5.4% to 5.7%. Agriculture, which contributed the most to investment in the industry, with, on average, 30.1% of the total from 2012 to 2015, recorded an 11.2% drop in its investments in 2015 compared to 2012.

Employment stable

In 2015, the biofood industry employed 488,200 workers. From 2012 to 2015, the number of jobs in this industry remained relatively stable and accounted for, in 2015, for 11.9% of jobs in Québec (compared to 12.1% in 2012). Every year on average from 2012 to 2015, the majority of these industry jobs were in food services and drinking places (208,600); food stores (127,000); food, beverage and tobacco manufacturing (63,300); and agriculture (55,200).

Increased international trade

Québec’s 2015 biofood exports reached $7.5 billion, while imports were valued at $6.9 billion. Both of these figures were records. From 2012 to 2015, exports (+$1.4 billion) and imports (+$1.5 billion) recorded an average annual increase of, respectively, 7.0% and 8.7%. Over this period, the biofood industry posted four years of a positive trade balance: $611.7 million in 2015, following surpluses of $770.5 million (2012), $447.1 million (2013) and $398.0 million (2014).

From 2012 to 2015, the United States, the largest market for Québec products, saw their share of overall Québec exports rise from 53.1% to 71.4%, while that of the European Union (11.3% to 5.0%) and Japan (8.2% to 5.7%) contracted. Exports to the United States attained $5.4 billion in 2015, ahead of Japan ($430.4 million) and the European Union ($375.9 million).

Pork ($1.4 billion) and cocoa and cocoa product ($1.0 billion) exports passed the one billion dollar mark in 2015, as had imports of beverages other than juice ($1.5 billion).

Agricultural output stable

In both 2012 and 2015, the total value of agricultural output attained $9.8 billion. During 2012–2015, this was divided among agricultural sales to other sectors ($7.9 billion), sales to other farms ($1.0 billion) and other sources of revenue ($0.9 billion). Farm input expenses totalled $6.1 billion in both 2012 and 2015.

From 2012 to 2015, agricultural sales to other sectors rose by $416.3 million. This increase was on account of animal (+$354.7 million) and crop (+$61.6 million) production. Calf (+$116.9 million), cattle (+$115.1 million) and hog and pig (+$74.0 million) sales were the highest in animal production ($5.3 billion) in 2015, while vegetables (+$133.1 million), fodder plants (+$47.6 million) and maple products (+$38.4 million) bumped crop output to $2.7 billion.


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