Debunking Myths Surrounding Food Production
What is processed food?
Myth: Processed foods are all things bad for you.
When the average Canadian hears the term “processed food” they may think of products like spreads, syrups and sweets that are meant to be eaten occasionally. However, processed food includes any food product which has been changed from its original state. Some foods have been processed in a minimal way (e.g. cleaning a fish to produce fillets), while others go through many stages or have a variety of ingredients added (e.g. turning milk into cheese). Many of the products Canadians eat have been processed in some way.
Myth: Processed foods are made in large factories and are usually imported.
Across Canada, the food processing industry is an important part of the economy. The provinces of Ontario and Quebec make up the majority of production with approximately 63 per cent of sales, while western provinces account for 29 per cent and Atlantic provinces about 7 per cent. Canadian processed food and beverage supplies 75 per cent of all processed food and beverage in Canada and exports to about 190 countries.128
Certain types of food processing are more prominent indifferent areasofCanada. In Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta, BritishColumbia and Quebec, meatis the most significant type of food manufacturing. However in Saskatchewan, grain and oilseed milling is the most prominent and in NewBrunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, the preparation and packaging of seafood is the biggest sector.129
How large is the industry?
Myth: Only a few big companies make processed foods, and the industry itself is small.
The food and beverage processing industry is the largest manufacturing industry in Canada in terms of value of production. It accounts for 16 per cent of total manufacturing shipments and 2 per cent of Canada’s Gross Domestic Product. In total, the value is $92.9 billion!126