Food and beverage processing

Food Processing Growth (FPG) Fund

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The Food Processing Growth Fund (FPG) is a program of up to $20M funded through the Ministry of Agriculture and Food. This fund will help established B.C. food businesses upgrade or expand facilities, technology, staff training, product development and commercialization to increase productivity, economic opportunities and competitiveness. Visit for more details.

There are approximately 3,200 food and beverage processing companies in B.C. producing a wide range of value-added products including: meat, seafood, dairy, fruit and vegetable products, wine, beer, soft drinks, sauces and condiments, functional foods and bakery items.

Food and beverage processing is the second largest manufacturing sector in BC by sales, producing more than 12.6 billion in 2021. This represents more than 70% of the sales of the agriculture, seafood, and food and beverage processing sector. Similarly, food and beverage processors are responsible for 60% of the broader sector’s GDP contribution totaling $3.6 Billion. Exports for the sector exceed over $5 billion through over 150 international markets. Over 40,000 British Columbians are employed by the food and beverage processing sector.

The food and beverage processing sector’s geographic distribution reflects the province's diverse agricultural resources and varying market demand. The Lower Mainland represents the highest concentration of the sector in the province and is particularly known for its production of dairy products, seafood, functional foods, bakeries, and craft beverages. The Okanagan Valley is another prominent region for the sector with significant fruit production, including wine grapes, it’s known for its many vineyards and wineries. Seafood processing facilities are mainly found on Vancouver Island and the South Coastal Region. The concentrations of companies in specific regions highlight the unique strengths and advantages of each area, contributing to the overall growth and success of the industry throughout British Columbia.

Food and beverage processing firms are attracted to B.C. because of its developed transportation infrastructure, access to international markets through ports, and a significant and diverse consumer base in the Lower Mainland. BC food and beverage processors benefit from the abundance of a diversity of agricultural resources and inputs as well as effective food safety and environmental regulations. As such, BC has fostered a dense composition of small flexible enterprises that comprise the majority of the sector.

High demand for skilled labour, industrial land and local raw materials are ongoing challenges.

Starting a processing business

Starting a food processing business in B.C. provides many opportunities and also presents unique challenges. First steps involve business planning, determining market opportunities and networking to find the knowledge, expertise and resources required.

Regulations and certification standards

Processors are responsible for complying with all relevant federal, provincial and municipal legislation and bylaws that deal with the production of safe food. Buyers may also ask for additional third-party certification standards.

Sourcing raw materials

British Columbia food and beverage processing businesses source inputs from across the province and internationally. Connecting with industry organizations can help locate suppliers of raw materials.

Food safety

Food processing businesses are required to implement formal food safety plans to ensure their products are safe for consumption.

Innovation and technology

Innovation can help businesses overcome obstacles and achieve growth and success in the food and beverage processing sector. B.C. companies use a wide range of innovative food manufacturing techniques and technologies.  

Business management

Managing a processing business requires knowledge and skills in business strategy, financial management, human resources, dealing with business risks and effectively marketing products.