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A new report on the Canadian retail industry by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (USDA) says that Canada represents 25 per cent of the total value of U.S. consumer-oriented exports worldwide.

Canada is the largest overseas market for U.S. high-value, consumer-oriented products, with exports reaching nearly $17 billion in 2020, representing 60 per cent of total category imports from abroad. This segment of agricultural and food products includes snack food, breakfast cereals, sauces, confectionery, pet food, wine, spirits, beer, and soft drinks. The top three consumer-oriented agricultural product categories were bakery goods, cereals, and pasta ($2.2 billion), fresh vegetables ($1.9 billion), and fresh fruits ($1.6 billion). U.S. products dominate in imported goods in the Canadian market, but recently implemented Canadian trade agreements with third country trading blocs – CETA (Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement) and the CPTPP (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership) – have contributed to increased agricultural export competition in the Canadian market.

It also notes that in 2020, Canada was the #2 market for U.S. agricultural exports.

“For new-to-market and new-to export firms, Canada offers stable financial markets and a sophisticated logistics network that supports $130 million worth of daily two-way trade in food and agricultural products. Canada’s food and alcoholic beverage retail sales in 2020 reached $109 billion – a record 10 percent increase from the previous year. Despite a relatively strong U.S. dollar and a mature market, opportunities U.S. food and beverage food sales have remained strong in Canada.

The U.S.D.A. says Canada’s food market displays “a dichotomy of demand, one for low priced quality foods and the other for premium and specialty food items. Some premium consumer-packaged food products are sold in Canada at three times the comparable U.S. retail price. Customarily, U.S. companies selling natural, organic, or specialty foods will create demand and sales among the independents before tackling larger accounts. Proven sales in Canada are important to help persuade category buyers to list new products.”

Read the full report HERE.

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