The Worldwide Food and Beverage Industry is in Transition – Quebec Should Foster Sustainable Development and Buy Locally
“Many Quebec agrifood companies are starting to look at using carbon footprinting as a marketing tool.”
– Jean-Pierre Haché, Senior Manager and Agrifood Specialist
MONTRÉAL, Quebec, February 28, 2012 – Following a difficult recession, the global food and beverage industry is coming out of survival mode and moving into a cautious expansionary mode. This is one of the many findings noted in a 2011 study on the food and beverage industry conducted by Grant Thornton International Ltd. This worldwide study, offering a unique Quebec perspective, was released this morning by Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton, during a conference organized in collaboration with the Conseil de la transformation agroalimentaire et des produits de consommation (CTAC).
Despite the measured growth of the food and beverage industry, major challenges continue to be felt around the world, particularly with respect to the high price of raw materials and the slow pace of household consumption. “These factors make it difficult for companies working in the food industry to increase their prices,” explains Guy Barthell, Partner in the Management Consulting Group at Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton.
Jean-Pierre Haché, Senior Manager and Agrifood Specialist at Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton, sees possible solutions for Quebec. “While Quebec has been less affected than other regions around the world, it must nevertheless demonstrate caution. Processors must learn how to turn consumer trends, such as sustainable development and buying locally, into profits, and target specific consumer groups in order to increase their revenues.”
Quebec at the forefront of sustainable industry
“Carbon certification, or greenhouse gas emission reduction certification offers an appealing growth potential and could become a strategic niche in 2012,” explains Jean-Pierre Haché. Numerous U.S. states and Canadian provinces use high-carbon emission fossil fuels, and forget to take this factor into consideration when calculating the cost of transporting goods through various warehouses and distribution centres. “Quebec is in an enviable position because all of our electricity is hydroelectricity, which has very low emissions. So a lot of our food companies are starting to look at using carbon footprinting as a marketing tool.”
Renewed interest in local farmers’ markets
The study also highlights the importance of buying locally as a Quebec consumer trend. “We have noted significant renewed interest from the industry and consumers with respect to local products. For example, Walmart is currently setting up new warehouses and logistics to be able to buy locally and offer these products in all of its stores. Similar plans are underway at other grocers. One of the reasons behind this strategy is definitely the savings from lower fuel costs.”
Canadian companies, on the other hand, tend more towards exportation. “In their business strategies, Canadian companies opt for exploring and developing new markets such as Mexico, India, China and South America,” states Guy Barthell.
Managing Through Uncertainty examines global data on the industry—the financial situation, trends, and constraints—and offers perspectives on these issues from specialists around the world. To consult the complete study on the food and beverage industry, visit www.rcgt.com.
About Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton
Founded in 1948, today Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton is a leader in the fields of assurance, taxation, consulting services, business recovery and reorganization. Its strength is based on a team of over 2,000 people including over 225 partners in more than 90 offices in Québec, eastern Ontario and New Brunswick. The scope of its network makes it a leader in its business segment. For the past 30 years, Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton has been a member of Grant Thornton International Ltd providing its clients with the expertise of the member and correspondent firms in more than 100 countries. Grant Thornton Raymond Chabot Infrastructure Inc. is active across Canada and has its head office is in Montréal.
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