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Atlantic Canada’s food processing hit hard by consolidation

Written by Alyssa Dalton

A report released today finds consolidation in Atlantic Canada’s food processing sector has significantly reduced the region’s work force over the last decade, while cutting the number of plants by nearly 25 per cent.

The Atlantic Provinces Economic Council report says about 21,000 workers were employed in more than 800 plants across the region last year — 10,300 fewer workers than in 2005. The drop represents 86 per cent of all employment reductions in food manufacturing nationally, it adds.

Food manufacturing sales in 2014 were $7.3 billion, or about 22 per cent of the region’s overall manufacturing sales, according to the report.

Meanwhile, an increased focus on exports to countries with a rising per capita consumption of seafood such as China, could provide the sector with opportunities for growth, it finds.