Celebrating Canada’s Agriculture Day

February 12 is Canada’s Agriculture Day and industry group Agriculture More Than Ever hosted its third annual national event this year in Ottawa to celebrate.  The event, one of hundreds held across Canada, invited industry participants from all over the country to promote Canada’s thriving agriculture and agri-food sector and discuss topics and developments of interest to stakeholders and consumers alike.

The theme of the event this year was “The Future of Food” and focused on food production trends and technology.  The presenters and participants included industry leaders across all facets of the sector – from farmers, producers and processors to retailers and distributors.

Some of the topics discussed included the shifting demographics of Canadian society, the evolution of consumer attitudes towards food, the disruption of traditional consumer channels through increasing innovation and digitization, and food production in an era that is ever more conscious of green and sustainable processes.

Here are some of the key take-aways gleaned from this year’s presenters:

  • Millennials now outnumber Baby Boomers as Canada’s primary food consumers – stakeholders in the sector need to be adaptive to the shift in attitudes towards food that Millennials bring from previous generations.
  • Increasingly, consumers approach food as a lifestyle, treating food as more than just calories, and our society is placing greater and greater emphasis on animal welfare and sustainable practices in agriculture and agri-food production.
  • Innovation in the areas of efficiency and customer experience will be key for future growth in the sector – we can expect further disruptive advancements in agri-production technology as well as in the means by which products make their way to consumers.
  • Ultimately, the sector is driven by consumers and their strong desire for product diversity and choice – stakeholders are well-advised to focus on the key consumer priorities of value, trustworthiness and product quality.

The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, made an appearance at the event to announce the new Canadian Agricultural Strategic Priorities Program, an investment of $50.3 million by the federal government over five years designed to assist the sector develop opportunities in the areas of technological innovation and adoption, environmental sustainability, strategic development and capacity building, and emerging issues.  This investment joins the ranks of the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, the Agricultural Clean Technology Program and Canada’s new innovation superclusters (particularly the Ocean Supercluster and the Protein Industries Supercluster) in representing the Canadian government’s commitment to enhance and develop the sector going forward.

This year’s Canada’s Agriculture Day event underpins the expectation that, as global demand for Canadian agricultural products grows, consumers show increasing discernment in their preferences, societal values shift and technological advancements continue to disrupt and shape entire industries, we will see ever greater activity and investment in the sector as a whole.  Agriculture and agri-food in Canada undoubtedly have an exciting future ahead!

Please see our webpage for more information on McCarthy Tétrault’s Retail and Consumer Markets Group.

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