This section is fully supported by Gowling WLG (Canada) LLP
Canada’s food and beverage industry is globally one of the most robust economic enterprises. Through a diligent yet tremendously effective regulatory system that oversees every step of the food and beverage supply chain – from manufacturing and export to import and distribution – Canada is continuously regarded as a valuable, trustworthy and welcoming country with which to conduct business in the food and beverage domain.
Health Canada is the primary government entity responsible for regulating Canada’s food and beverage industry. This includes creating specific standards for all foods and beverages sold in Canada to ensure these products are safe to eat and nutritious. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is the government agency responsible for overseeing the health and safety standards of foods and beverages sold in Canada, including the regulation of all food and beverage packaging, labeling and advertising.
What is exceptionally unique about Canada’s regulatory landscape is its global-facing approach to creating and implementing rules and regulations that affect the food and beverage industry. Alignment with the approach of Canada’s major trading partners, including the European Union, is of the upmost importance to the entities responsible for maintaining and enforcing these regulatory measures. It is through our understanding and appreciation of these major trading partners that Canada can guarantee success in its own domain.
In the last decade, Canada has taken significant strides in modernizing its rules and regulations specific to the food and beverage industry. This has been particularly the case more recently with Canada’s shift towards establishing a more streamlined and comprehensible manner of declaring the nutrition facts and ingredients statements on all applicable food and beverage labels, and mandating a specific way of declaring colours that have been added to food and beverage products. It is expected that by the end of 2022, these new food labeling rules will be implemented on products across Canada.
Canada is also on the cusp of establishing modernized policies respecting plant-based foods with the hopeful outcome of expanding the breadth of these products currently available in the Canadian market. As people across Canada rethink their consumption of animal products, it is expected that the demand for plant-based foods in Canada is going to grow exponentially in the coming years.
Recently, Health Canada released proposed regulations for supplemented foods. Supplemented foods are food and beverage products that contain one or more added supplemental ingredients such as vitamins, minerals, and caffeine. While these proposed regulations are still in their early stages, it is extremely important for global food and beverage companies seeking to enter the Canadian market in the coming years to stay attuned to these developments and how they may affect their products going forward. As of the date of this article, the supplemented foods regulations were still in the initial consultation stage.
With a diverse and progressive population of approximately 38 million people and an insatiable hunger for more food options, Canada represents an exceptional opportunity for food and beverage companies to expand their reach. With the implementation of modernized regulations and exciting new protocols on the horizon, there has never been a better time to enter this vast market.