Exports and Establishment-Level Performance in Canadian Food and Beverage Manufacturing

About the report

This study addresses several questions about the characteristics of Canadian food and beverage exporters relative to non-exporters.


  • Future exporters in both food and beverage manufacturing and in other manufacturing exhibit superior performance characteristics relative to non-exporters, and several of these differences appear to grow over the three years immediately prior to the beginning of exports, implying a build-up of resources and activity.
  • Differences in performance characteristics between future exporters and continuous non-exporters carry over into the export period, at least for the first four years of exports covered in this study.
  • Both food and beverage establishments and non-food and beverage establishments shift their focus away from the domestic market after they decide to export, although food and beverage manufacturers appear to retain a greater emphasis on the domestic market than other types of manufacturers.
  • When comparing performance characteristics of establishments that exit export markets against continuous exporters, there is an unambiguous pattern in both food and beverage manufacturing and in other manufacturing of negative and increasingly large gaps across a broad range of indicators. This implies that the impact of an establishment stopping exports is felt not just by the firm itself, but also by its employees and upstream suppliers over a number of years.
  • Overall, the results suggest that exporting is associated with benefits not only for the establishment itself, but also for its employees in the form of more jobs and greater remuneration, and to input suppliers in the form of greater sales. As roughly 69% of material costs in Canadian food and beverage manufacturing are associated with inputs sourced from the domestic agriculture and agri-food sector, greater use of material inputs by exporters suggest greater positive returns along the Canadian agriculture and agri-food supply chain.

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