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Food, Beverage & Agribusiness

It’s both who and what you know in this matrix of sectors that secures results

As the food, beverage and agribusiness sectors continue to evolve on a global scale, we’ve provided the legal support needed for industry-leading organizations to grow and evolve as well. As an integral part of our Retail and Consumer Markets practice, our Food, Beverage and Agribusiness group has worked collaboratively for over two decades with multinational agricultural growers and producers; food and drink manufacturers, distributors, and retailers; fertilizer and agro-chemical producers; and lenders, investors, and suppliers to the industry, globally. In addition to advising on regulations and compliance, we also have experience working on some of the most significant mergers and acquisitions in the food, beverage and agribusiness sector. Our clients trust us to provide complete legal solutions that support their business objectives.

A national reputation for cross-industry expertise

We are one of only two major Canadian law firms with full industry coverage across the Food, Beverage and Agribusiness, Consumer Products and Retail sectors. From production and processing all the way to packaging and marketing, we offer the legal guidance required to operate efficiently while remaining in compliance with the matrix of regulations governing the industry.

In addition to traditional legal services, such as legal support on strategic acquisitions, private and public debt and equity financings, litigation and day-to-day business requirements such as labour and employment, trademark, patent and tax matters, our expertise includes niche but critical areas such as:

  • anti-corruption and economic sanctions enforcement;
  • product compliance and liability;
  • branding, labelling and advertising;
  • trade and other regulatory matters (including support with rules governing supply managed commodities, temporary marketing authorizations, food import procedures, food related security, inspection and customs requirements)
  • environmental law;
  • food safety, grocery store recalls and traceability issues

Ranked as a leading sector practice by Chambers Canada, we provide top-tier coverage in all related practice areas across Canada, with specialized expertise to meet each key market’s critical needs.

In addition to supporting food, beverage and agribusiness companies, we regularly advise lenders and investors active in the industry, including pension funds, private equity and venture capital firms. With #1 ranked capital markets and M&A practices, our industry insight pairs effortlessly with our deal-making expertise.

Over 20 years of sector expertise

Over two decades, we have built a tight network of long-standing relationships with policymakers in Canada and international institutions, including the World Trade Organization. Active in numerous industry associations such as Conseil de la transformation alimentaire du Québec, we are on the inside of information flow and work hard to ensure our clients are as well. We bring to bear the benefit of these relationships for our clients, identifying promising foreign markets and developing entry strategies for both new ventures and growth stage ag tech companies.

We regularly execute high-profile mandates involving complex government and stakeholder relations. Some of our notable mandates include:

  • leading Olymel food processors in the acquisition of Canada's second-biggest hog producer, Big Sky Farms;
  • representing Smart Balance Inc. in obtaining 100% of the equity interest of Importations DE-RO-MA, owner of Glutino Food Group;
  • advising on the formation of the first agricultural investment fund of a joint venture between Comox Equity Partners Inc. and Fiera Capital Corporation;
  • guiding BroadGrain Commodities Inc. in completing the purchase Lakeside Global Grains Inc.;
  • representing Robraye Management Ltd in completing the acquisition food distributor Dube & Loiselle Inc.;
  • advising Fyffes plc in its acquisition of Highline Produce Limited, the largest mushroom operations business in Canada; and
  • representing Molson Coors Brewing in completing the acquisition of the Miller brand portfolio outside of the U.S, a deal that more than doubled their revenue.
  • representing Unilever in the sale of its margarine and spreads business, comprised of Becel, Flora, Country Crock and Blue Band for US$8.04 billion.
  • acting for Corby Spirit and Wine Limited during its acquisition of the spirits assets of Domaines Pinnacle Inc., and the creation of Corby subsidiary Ungava Spirits Co. Ltd.
  • advising Nestle in its acquisition of Atrium, a global leader in nutritional health products based in Montréal

Our practical counsel, deep sector understanding and experience, and strong relationships within the industry and with industry stakeholders means that no matter your issue, we can provide the full support you need.

Spotlight Areas

Pet Industry Team

With the rapidly growing demand for pet food and products, pet care and related services, our firm has established a specialized team to help our clients navigate the commercial and regulatory landscape of the pet industry. Our team works across practices and regions to provide strategic advice on mergers and acquisitions, insurance, financing and strategic investments, product liability and class actions, patents and trademarks, regulatory issues, marketing and advertising, trade and supply chain matters, and more. As active participants in industry associations such as the Pet Food Association of Canada, Food Health and Consumer Products Canada, and Retail Council of Canada, we recognize issues of importance and connect our clients with other industry players so they can collaborate in a legally compliant, proactive way.