Opportunities rise for exports of processed fruits, veggies to Canada

There are opportunities for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in developing countries like the Philippines to export processed fruits and vegetables to Canada, which represents a billion-dollar market for the processed produce industry.

To succeed in entering the Canadian market, potential exporters should meet market requirements and offer novel or unique products that stand out from the existing competitive offerings, advises the Trade Facilitation Office (TFO) Canada in its March newsletter.

TFO noted that demand particularly for frozen fruits and vegetables and ready-to-blend smoothies is increasing.

“It is essential for SMEs to prepare well in advance to attempt to sell successfully in Canada. The Canadian market is competitive, demanding and challenging for processed foods in general,” said the article.

The pandemic has accentuated some of the market trends and purchasing concerns present in Canada, it continued.

Health issues have prompted the purchase of products made with healthy and natural ingredients, fanning in particular the rise in the demand for frozen fruits and vegetables.

Sustainability and environment issues are likewise fueling the demand for products from sustainable sources and processes. Eco-friendly packaging is a prime example of this trend.

In addition, Canadian consumers are concerned about safety and transparency throughout the supply chain.

The market is also on the lookout for cultural diversity, seeking foods that are made from the recipes of other cultures and that appeal to a multicultural consumer base.

Online buying, food delivery services and prepared meals kits are among the rising market trends as well.

To ensure that processed fruits and vegetables are safe to eat, the Canadian
government imposes strict regulations for different product areas, ranging from nutrition requirements to food labeling. Both the SME exporter and the Canadian importer must adhere to requirements from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) regarding processed foods, said TFO.

In 2021, processed fruit and vegetable imports into Canada reached CAD3.17 billion (about P130 billion). The top supplier was the United States, followed by China and Mexico, it said.

The Philippines is also among the significant exporting countries to Canada. Among its exports are preserved potatoes, sugar-preserved fruits and vegetables, and cooked and uncooked jams, jellies, and purees, it continued.

Other processed fruits and vegetables imported into the Northern American country include canned/preserved tomatoes, prepared mushrooms, and frozen potatoes and other vegetables.

The province of Ontario is the largest point of entry of processed fruits and vegetables into Canada, followed by British Columbia and Quebec, the newsletter said.

According to information on the Canadian government’s website, processed fruits and vegetables are shelf-stable or frozen products as well as refrigerated products which have been processed to extend the shelf life beyond 90 days. Processed fruits and vegetables are typically fruits or vegetables that have undergone processing such as canned, cooked, frozen, concentrated, pickled or otherwise prepared to assure preservation.

They include canned fruit, canned vegetables, frozen fruits, frozen vegetables, pickles, juices, jams and jellies, and pie fillings.

For an overview of the requirements specific to exporting processed fruit and vegetable products to Canada, check out https://inspection.canada.ca/importing-food-plants-or-animals/food-imports/food-specific-requirements/processed-fruit-or-vegetable-products/eng/1541690314096/1541690314316.

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