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Top insights from the 2023 FCC Food and Beverage Industry report

Here are three key observations from this year’s report
Photo credit: Farm Credit Canada

The 2023 FCC Food and Beverage Industry report reviews last year’s economic environment and highlights opportunities and risks for Canadian food and beverage manufacturers for 2023. It includes projections of annual industry sales and new gross margin index forecasts by sector.

Here are three key observations from this year’s report.

Sales growth was strong in 2022; projected to grow modestly in 2023

Food and beverage manufacturing sales rose by 10.6% to $156 billion in 2022. Growth was largely the result of selling price inflation in the face of higher costs, but we saw healthy volume trends in certain industries.

FCC Economics is forecasting food manufacturing sales to increase 2.2% YoY in 2023. Sales growth decelerated in Q4 2022 with several categories reporting sales declines YoY in December. Any rebound in the deceleration observed at the end of 2022 could lift these projections.

Margins have deteriorated in the face of higher input and labour costs

Higher costs pressured food and beverage manufacturing margins. Gross margins as a percent of sales fell to their lowest level in over 20 years in 2022. FCC Economics is forecasting gross margins to improve slightly in 2023. It’s important to note that trends in margins differ widely across the different industries.

Food imports gain market share in Canada in 2022

As the year progressed, higher food prices and declining savings led consumers to cut back on discretionary spending. This meant fewer purchases of premium-priced foods, including smaller-batch and locally made foods for which manufacturers couldn’t lower costs and control prices. Consumption of Canadian-made food in 2022 (measured in dollars relative to total consumption) reverted to the trend observed before the pandemic. A larger percentage of food dollars spent in Canada was allocated toward imported foods.

The bottom line: let’s not lose sight of opportunities

In spite of these recent challenges and weaker margins, the food and beverage manufacturing sector remains healthy and has a positive long-term outlook. We are seeing promising innovation and technology being implemented in food manufacturing plants along with a global demand for Canadian-produced food growing rapidly. Canada is uniquely positioned to expand its reach into new, growing and very profitable food industries.