Results from the BC Food Hub Network Industry Survey

Posted by Michalina Hunter on May 06, 2019

BC Food Hub Network Industry

These results reflect responses from 205 food producers and/or processors in BC. The Industry Survey is a supporting component of the BC Food Hub Network initiative led by the Ministry of Agriculture. More information on this initiative and development of the Industry Survey can be found below. Based on the response rate, the results were divided into regions – South Coast (Lower Mainland), Okanagan, Vancouver Island and Coast, and ‘Other’ which includes Cariboo Chilcotin Coast, Thompson Nicola, Kootenay, Omineca Skeena and Peace.

Below is a summary of the high-level survey findings:

  • The majority of respondents are small businesses – with 42% under $100,000 in annual revenue and 59% with less than 5 or no employees;
  • The majority of respondents (52%) are located in the South Coast (Lower Mainland), with Vancouver Island (17%) and Okanagan (16%) as next highest with about equal number of respondents, with all ‘Other’ regions having very low numbers of respondents (15%);
  • 61% of respondents own their processing facility, 10% operate out of a home kitchen, and 29% use some sort of shared arrangement;
  • There is a high interest in all 8 areas of needs assessed in the survey, by all regions and all business sizes;
  • The top needs overall are service-focused rather than facility-focused, and the top 4 needs are:
    • Training and education related to processing technology or food, health and safety;
    • Business development services;
    • Product or production consultation services; and
    • R&D services or facilities.
  • ‘Other’ (more rural) regions indicate a higher need for shared processing and storage infrastructure;
  • Interest in shared infrastructure for processing declines with business size, but interest in services is equally high amongst all business sizes;
  • Top three equipment needs across the regions and business sizes are packaging equipment, dry processing equipment, and wet processing equipment;
  • Novel equipment is most needed by large businesses and in the South Coast (Lower
  • Mainland) and Okanagan regions, and is least needed on Vancouver Island;
  • Meat processing equipment is most needed in the ‘Other’ regions;
  • Laboratory equipment is least needed in ‘Other’ regions and most needed in the South Coast (Lower Mainland).

Download the report here:  BC Food Hub Network Industry Survey Final Report.pdf

Overview of the B.C. Food Hub Network Initiative

The BC Ministry of Agriculture, in collaboration with industry and post-secondary institutions, is in the process of developing a BC Food Hub Network. The creation of the Food Hub Network is part of the Ministry of Agriculture’s Feed BC mandate pillar. Feed BC is a key priority for the Ministry, committed to encouraging more food and beverage processing in BC, which supports local economies, job creation and local agriculture.

The Food Hub Network is envisioned to consist of a Core Food Innovation Centre at UBC (“Core Innovation Centre”), as well as multiple regional centres (“Food Hubs”) across BC. The goal for the Food Hub Network is to facilitate access to processing facilities, equipment, technology, research and development, knowledge-sharing and innovation-related services for those involved or wanting to be involved in food and beverage processing or value-added activities across the province.

To guide the development of the Food Hub Network, the Ministry commissioned MNP LLP to conduct a province-wide survey to identify the current needs, challenges and opportunities of BC food and beverage processors and those interested in entering the industry.

Download the report here:  BC Food Hub Network Industry Survey Final Report.pdf