Salmon farmers propel food and beverage processors to record $10.5 billion in sales, according to the latest data released by B.C.’s Agriculture Ministry
Farmed Atlantic salmon was BC’s top international food export last year helping to showcase the resilience and innovation of the province’s food and beverage processors, which will provide a blueprint for the sector’s economic recovery from COVID-19.
According to the latest data from B.C.’s Agriculture Ministry, food and beverage processors played a key role in B.C.’s overall economy in 2019, with sales up by $700 million to a record $10.5 billion.
Topping the international agriculture, seafood and food & beverage products exports for 2019 was farmed Atlantic salmon at $562 million up from $541 million the previous year.
“Not surprising, because it’s great food, raised in a great place, by great people.,” said John Paul Fraser, executive director of the BC Salmon Farmers Association (BCSFA).
Farm-raised salmon generates over $1.5-billion towards the B.C. economy, supporting about 7,000 jobs.
The latest government data showed B.C. exported $4.7 billion worth of agriculture, seafood and food & beverage products to 152 different international markets.
Other top exports were $377 million in food preparations for manufacturing and natural health products; $273 million in blueberries; $244 million in baked goods and $230 million in mushrooms.
“Our food and beverage processors here in B.C. have been at the forefront of innovation during the pandemic, adapting their businesses to suit both their needs and consumers. The record sales in 2019 set the foundation for a strong economic recovery,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture.
“I’m so proud of our amazing producers and their contributions to a strong B.C. food system. Everyone can enjoy the high-quality, delicious locally made food and beverages when they choose to ‘Buy BC’ and support their communities.”
Other areas of growth included a $300-million increase in meat and poultry sales, along with a $295-million increase in dairy sales and a $137-million increase in winery sales.
“The continued revenue growth of the food and beverage processing sector in B.C. is a testament to the high degree of entrepreneurship and innovation in the industry,” said James Donaldson, CEO, BC Food and Beverage.
“We’ve seen this trend for many years, which demonstrates why the industry is so important to B.C.’s economy.”
B.C.’s food and beverage processing industry is comprised of 2,995 establishments and is the second-largest manufacturing sector in the province. There were 35,700 food and beverage processing jobs in B.C. in 2019.
Consistently ranked as the 4th largest farmed Atlantic salmon producer in the world, farmed salmon was also B.C.’s most valuable seafood export with a 12 per cent share of total agrifood and seafood provincial export sales in 2018.
After Atlantic salmon at $541 million, the highest value seafood exports for 2018 were $159 million in crabs; $103 million in hake; $56 million in Sockeye salmon; and $55 million in geoduck clams.
(Image courtesy of Creative Salmon/Pentair AES)