Food and beverage processing

There are over 2,500 food processing companies in B.C. producing  value added meat, seafood, dairy, fruit and vegetable products, wine, beer, soft drinks, sauces and condiments, functional foods and bakery items.

Most wine production is located near the grape producing areas of the Okanagan with the highest concentration of wineries in Oliver, B.C. Seafood processing plants are found on Vancouver Island and the south coastal region. The highest concentration of baked goods and beer processing plants are in Vancouver, and fruit, berry, and poultry processing is located primarily in Abbotsford.

B.C's food and beverage processors produce approximately $9 Billion worth of food per year representing 70% of total agrifood revenues. Over 30,000 British Columbians are employed in the food and beverage processing industries.

Food processing firms are attracted to B.C.’s shipping infrastructure, dense composition of small flexible enterprises, effective food safety and environmental regulations, geographic location and favorable demographics.

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 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 is the solution to overcoming obstacles or barriers to growth and success in the  food and beverage processing sector. B.C. companies use a wide range of innovative food manufacturing techniques and technology.

Business management

Managing a processing business requires knowledge and skills in business strategy, management of finances, human resources and business risks, as well as product marketing.