Canada's Organic Products Industry Overview

Canada's large and varied land base, combined with its cooler climate, make it an ideal country for producing organic food. The sector is diversifying and expanding into new markets while achieving double digit annual growth in retail sales over the past decade.

This growth rate is expected to continue increasing in coming years as the organic sector in Canada becomes more organized, trade impediments are reduced or eliminated, and consumer confidence and demand continues to grow due to the implementation of mandatory certification to minimum standards.

Canadian industry facts

  • Approximately 3,713 certified organic producers working on 841 thousand hectares of land in Canada.
  • Certified organic farms account for approximately 1.8% of the total number of farms in Canada.
  • Organic livestock is a small but growing sector.
  • There are about 1,200 certified organic processors and handlers in Canada, producing a wide variety of ingredients and consumer-ready products.
  • Total annual retail sales of certified organic products in Canada are approximately $3.5 billion, with about 46% moving through mainstream supermarkets. In addition, fresh fruit and vegetables account for 39% of all domestic organic food and beverage sales (2012 data).

Organic exports

  • In 2012, Canadian Organic exports were estimated at $458 million.
  • Canada exports a wide selection of certified organic products, ranging from bulk grains to pre-packaged consumer-ready products in every category.
  • The largest share of our exports goes to the United States, the European Union and Japan.
  • As can be expected from the breadbasket of the world, organic wheat is our most popular Canadian export. However, exports of oats, flax, barley, lentils, peas, spelt, hemp, soybeans, corn, sunflowers, and other grains and oilseeds are growing.
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