I. Overview of Canada Meat Processing

The food processing industry is the third-largest manufacturing industry in Canada. And measured by shipments and value-added, the largest food processing sector is meat processing.
Meat processing is a leading part of the food industry in exports of Canada, and it accounted for 1/3 of the total food exports value prior to the impact of the embargo on meat exports in mid-2003, because there was an identification of a single cow with BSE.

employment of Canada meat processing

It is reported that meat processing has the second-highest number of establishments, largely because of the many small specialty producers of smoked meats and sausages. So, there are many operating posts available. And Canadian meat processing industry employs the largest number of workers accounting for 28% of all food industry employment. Canada’s red meat processing industry has a total employment of over 46,000 people.
Meat processing plants of Canada are located near the source of farm production. Meat processing is generally the most important activity in each region, particularly in the Prairie Provinces and Quebec.
Due to Canada’s system of supply management, chicken production of Canada is distributed across all provinces in approximate proportion to the consumer market. Sophisticated poultry plants that slaughter and process up to 25,000 broiler chickens per hour account for the majority share of poultry meat output. Most poultry processors run their own egg hatcheries to sell chicks to chicken producers, and then the producers sell the finished birds back to the processors on a live-weight basis.
Canada’s fish and seafood processing quantity is approximate to the production quantity. The fish and seafood processing industry is also a vital part of the Canadian food processing industry, with a production capacity of C $5 billion. In 2003, there were 1.369 fish and seafood processing establishments in Canada of which 1,001 had employees, and 84% had less than 100 employees, 15% had 100-500 employees and 1% had more than 500 employees.

II. Meat Processing Machinery for Canada’s Meat Production

Meat processing machinery consumption can be divided into three kinds of percentages by demand: 45% for industrial packers and processing plants, 30% for grocery store chains, and 25% for independent delicatessen and meat shops. And the industrial packer and processing plants contain three categories of meat equipment end-users: red meatpackers, pork packers, and meat/pork processors.
The manufacturers of meat products in Canada import almost 90% of the meat processing machinery, like meat cutting machines, meat patty making machinery, sausage-making machinery to satisfy its market demands, which means there is a high degree of import percentage in the Canadian meat processing equipment market. The manufacturer in the Canadian meat processing equipment industry produces ancillary equipment, machinery, controls, and inspections equipment and primarily sells to industrial packers and processors of red meat products.

canada beef patty plant
Canada Meat Patty Plant

The meat processing industry continues to grow, there will be continually increasing needs for the machines. The Canadian market size of meat machines has reached $83.8 million in 2002. At the same time, advanced technologies of equipment have played an important part in the meat processing sector. Therefore, value-added meat processing machinery has good potential in Canada. More companies are moving towards market innovations like branded, case-ready cuts of meat. An increase in demand for products like microwavable, single portion convenience meals, will provide opportunities for equipment manufacturers to supply these niche markets, especially for machinery that can yield box-ready beef and pork. The development in seafood and fish processing machinery and equipment, such as fish scaling machine, fish skinning machine and fish meat separator within Canada has been relatively stable in recent years.

Marine Harvest Port Hardy Processing Plant
Canada Fish Processing Plant

III. What Meat Products Does Canada’s Meat Processing Industry Make

Meat processing is one of Canada’s largest single manufacturing industries with the largest employer in the food-manufacturing group. And it is one of the earliest food industries that develop mass production technologies to open international markets. And among the meat productions, the red meat processing that includes beef, veal, pork, lamb, mutton, goat, rabbit, horse, as well as version and bison, is a major part. The red meat industry had annual shipments worth $16.3 billion in 2013.
The slaughtering and meat processing sector of Canada covers livestock slaughter and carcass dressing, secondary processors that manufacture and package meat products for retail sale, and purveyors that prepare portion-ready meat cuts for the hotel, restaurant, and institutional food service. Meat processing plants in Canada manufacture a wide variety of meat products, including fresh, chilled, or frozen meats and edible offal, like organ meat; fresh and cooked sausage; canned and cooked meat preparations; smoked meats; meat patties; meatballs; animal oil and fats; and products of bone and meat meal. About 70% of processed meats in Canada, such as sausages or cold cuts, are made with pork.

Canada beef meat

Canada packed meat

Canada Meat Products

IV. Countries That Import Canada Meat Products

The meat processing industry has been a significant exporter since it was started in the 19th century. Led by pork and beef, meat and meat preparations are among Canada’s highest value agro-food exports. The exports of meat products have accounted for about half of total production from the dissolution of the US embargo on Canadian beef in 2005. The US, Mexico, China, Japan, and Russia are the most important global importers of Canadian beef and pork, while Canadian chicken products are exported mainly to the US and Asian destinations like the Philippines.
Most of Canada’s fish and processed seafood products are also exported. The US is the single largest market, accounting for nearly 59% of the total exports. And there are many fastest-growing markets, such as China, France, Denmark, and Thailand,

V. Canadian Meat Processing Market Trends

Canada is one of the most developed countries in the world. A vibrant economy and strong consumer spending, and many other advantages, such as R&D investment tax credits, provincial incentives, low-cost energy, excellent infrastructure, abundant primary products, stable business, and social environment, as well as the high quality of life in urban centers make it a desirable location for investment, thus over 75% of the world’s leading food and beverage firms have chosen to invest in processing facilities in Canada. As the leading part of food processing in Canada, meat processing can be a leading part of the investment as well.
In the meantime, the BSE scare makes the meat processing sector of Canada started to shift its focus to building more and expanding processing facilities. Even though the ban has been lifted, increased processing capacity in Canada will remain.