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A Way Forward for Canada’s Food Manufacturing Industry, Ag Think Tank Discussion

By Amanda Brodhagen,

The George Morris Centre, Canada`s largest agriculture think tank released a commentary Tuesday, which aims to make sense of the recent food manufacturing closures. The report entitled, “The Heinz and Kellogg Closures: What Direction for Canada’s Food Manufacturing Competitiveness?” is penned by Bob Seguin, Executive Director of the George Morris Centre. The full report can be read by clicking here.

Seguin concludes his write up by putting forward five key market and policy related suggestions. Highlights include the following:

• Creating new domestic and foreign investments
• Labour investments need to be made, e.g. both domestic and foreign labour pools should be explored
• Encouraging increased competition. More resources need to be put towards understanding competitors advantages, including public policy and regulatory supports
• Regualtory reform needs to move beyond just updating old regulations
• Public and private research coordination needs to be enhanced

“The competition in food manufacturing market is intense. The competition for capital among sub-national jurisdictions is as intense and innovative as the goods markets,” Seguin writes.

Seguin suggests that the future of Canada`s food manufacturing industry isn`t all doom in gloom, in fact he says the industry can thrive if significant changes are made. These key changes would include – more strategic investments, enhanced competitiveness in public policy, and securing private markets. Seguin concludes that the most recent food manufacturing closures in Canada, most notably in Ontario, are a result of market and public policy changes which have come to fruition. There is an opportunity for the industry to learn from these closures, understand new competitors and the changing dynamics of consumers; there is a way forward.

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