Production Line In Modern Dairy Factory

Food products from many segments in the value chain represent a significant part of Ontario’s domestic and international economic activity. These segments include:

  • Livestock and produce agriculture, including approximately 52,000 farms
  • Processed food products including cereals, confectionery, processed meats, snack foods and baked goods
  • Pet and animal foods
  • Beverages including soft drinks, dairy products, bottled water, alcoholic beverages such as wine, beer and spirits
  • Spices, dressings and sauces

Ontario’s food manufacturing industry is valued at approximately $11 billion from exports and employs approximately 100,000 people.

Some of the largest companies that are either headquartered in Ontario or have significant operations hosted in Ontario include:

  • Mars, Inc. (Bolton and Newmarket, Includes M&M/Mars confection, Pedigree/Whiskas Pet Food, Uncle Ben’s)
  • Dare Foods (Waterloo)
  • Maple Leaf Foods (Hamilton)
  • Wing’s Foods (Toronto – Manufacturer and distributor of Asian cuisine)
  • Vincor (Niagara Region Wine processing)
  • Clovermead (Elgin County honey processing)
  • Nestle (Toronto)
  • Procter and Gamble (Toronto)

Ontario’s food processing companies are represented by the Ontario Food Cluster association. Much of the success of Ontario food manufacturing industry can be attributed to partnerships with several Ontario universities and colleges including:

  • Conestoga College,
  • University of Guelph:
  • Western University in London, Ontario:
  • Greenhouse and Processing Crops Research Centre in Harrow, Essex County, Ontario: the largest greenhouse research complex facility in North America
  • Wilfred Laurier University, Brantford, Ontario:
  • University of Toronto:
  • McMaster University:
  • Ryerson University:
  • University of Waterloo: 
  • St. Michael’s Hospital (Toronto):
  • Fanshawe College (London campus):
  • Besides the food products themselves, the food manufacturing industries represents several complementary industries which are vital in Ontario including:
  • Packaging
  • Warehousing and Storage
  • Transportation/Distribution
  • Retail and restaurant sales/service
  • Marketing and promotion

Like many of the industries profiled by Invest Canada Alliance, Ontario has been recognized as a leading destination for the food manufacturing industry because of factors including:

  • Proximity to the marketplace
  • Availability of a skilled workforce
  • Tax incentives and tax rates
  • Diversity of its people
  • Availability of resources including energy and fresh water for processing and raw materials
  • Public/private partnerships such as universities and colleges
  • Quality of life
  • Competitive cost of doing business and sourcing of materials and supplies
  • Access to the lucrative U.S. market
  • Diverse cultural population
  • Support of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and foreign business ownershipThe Ontario government provides several tax incentive programs for research and development, education and apprenticeships. Investing in Ontario’s food manufacturing industry provides a low risk, high reward potential opportunity.