Ontario's Food and Beverage Industry Welcomes McGuinty Government Local Food Act

New Act builds on the success of the Ontario Food and Beverage Manufacturing Industry

CAMBRIDGE, ON, Sept. 24, 2012 /CNW/ - The Alliance of Ontario Food Processors applauds the McGuinty government on its recently announced intention to introduce a Local Food Act.  Supporting the agri-food industry and, particularly food and beverage processing right here in Ontario, is the single best way to promote and increase consumption of the good things our farmers grow.  A recent report released by the Alliance of Ontario Food Processors (AOFP), and completed by the independent firm MNP LLP, shows food and beverage processing sales of $39 billion in 2010, representing an annual rate of increase of 2 per cent per year since 2005.  The report also showed that Ontario Food and Beverage manufacturers are the largest customers of Ontario's farmers, purchasing approximately 65% of what they produce.

"The food and beverage processing industry has not only survived, but thrived, during the economic downturn of the last several years," said Craig Richardson, Chairman of AOFP during the release of the report.  "Ontario has long looked to the automotive industry to fuel the provincial economy, but it is clear that food and beverage processing is the economic engine that drives it."

The food and beverage processing sector employs over 126,000 Ontarians, making it by far the largest manufacturing employer in the province.  With close to 3000 establishments across the province, in both rural and urban communities, its impact touches every corner of the province and cannot be overlooked.

The overall economic contribution to Ontario is estimated at $67 billion annually.

Food manufacturing is the largest segment of the Ontario manufacturing industry.  The Local Food Act will be an important tool to help further build this industry.

"Ontario's food sector has been a lynchpin of the Ontario and Canadian economy," said Michael McCain, president and CEO of Maple Leaf Foods and member of Ontario's Jobs and Prosperity Council. "The tremendous growth of our industry has set the precedent for important new investments that are fuelling jobs and innovation in Ontario and prominent recognition on the world stage for delivering highly sought-after, delicious products."

Based on the results of this report, AOFP believes that continued and increased investment will show solid returns for Ontario taxpayers.  "Our industry has a proven track record of success; we are the single largest manufacturing employer in Ontario and we know that there is huge potential for more growth in our sector" said Steve Peters, executive director of AOFP.  "We congratulate the McGuinty government on the Local Food Act.  We look forward to working together with them, and with Ontario's farmers, to increase jobs and prosperity for Ontario."

SOURCE: Alliance of Ontario Food Processors

For further information:

Steve Peters, Executive Director
Alliance of Ontario Food Processors
519-650-3741 (B)

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Alliance of Ontario Food Processors

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