Canada: Food Report 2016: Trends In The Food, Beverage And Agribusiness Sector


Since the early part of this century, the fast-paced development of Alberta's oil sands and the push for more pipelines across the country have driven Canada's economic fortunes. Indeed, the Toronto Stock Exchange is one of the most carbon-intensive exchanges in the world — with over 25 per cent market capitalization in the oil and gas sector. Changes in energy markets (including booming domestic production in the U.S. and decreasing global demand) have depressed energy prices, and the effects are felt in the broader Canadian economy. We are optimistic that the Canadian food, beverage and agribusiness sector presents a viable and attractive alternative for investors today for a safe harbour from the upheaval in global energy markets. As a northern latitude area, the Canadian Prairies are expected to experience temperature increases by a multiple of global averages, which in turn increases growing seasons. These environmental shifts are also expected to increase crop yields and the diversity of crops that can be cultivated. We anticipate Canada's position to continue to improve as a lead global exporter as it benefits from improving agricultural conditions in the Prairies and increasing global demand.1

In 2015, the Canadian food and agribusiness sector was once again the subject of a number of high-profile transactions (see Notable Transactions, page 2). Canada continues to be a leading exporter, and a significant importer, of agricultural and agri-food products. Similarly, farmland has been a strong asset, and in recent years, we have noted increased investments in Canadian farmland assets by financial investors (e.g., Middle Eastern sovereign wealth funds and the Canada Pension Plan).

As has become customary in the last four issues of this report, in this issue, we once again present an overview of significant global and Canadian M&A transactions in the food, beverage and agribusiness sectors. We also present four feature articles. The first article highlights the push to organic pesticides. The second provides a brief primer on the regulation of the dairy industry in Canada. In our third article, we provide a short overview of the Canadian farm debt market. Finally, we conclude with a summary and some reflections on the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement and its ramifications for the Canadian agribusiness sector.

This report was prepared by the Blakes Food, Beverage & Agribusiness group based on non-confidential information acquired through our practice and from a review of public information. The information was gathered in the first three quarters of 2015. Our goal in preparing and presenting this report is to highlight certain trends, developments and opportunities we believe will have an impact on the food, beverage and agribusiness sector going forward.

The information contained in this report is intended for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. While care has been taken to ensure the information herein is accurate, we make no representations regarding its accuracy. This report should not be relied on to replace professional advice, legal or otherwise, relating to any specific circumstances.

Notable Transactions

Featured Canadian Transactions

Cott Acquires DS Services

On December 12, 2014, Canada-based Cott Corporation (Cott) acquired U.S.-based DS Services Holdings, Inc. (DS Services) from Crestview Partners, L.P. DS Services, a leading bottled water and coffee direct-to-consumer services provider, was bought by Cott for a value of US$1.25-billion. The purchase included the assumption of an undisclosed amount in liabilities and the issuance of Cott preferred shares. Following the acquisition, Cott is now one of the world's largest producers of beverages on behalf of retailers, brand owners and distributors. By acquiring DS Services, Cott has gained access to one of the broadest distribution networks in the United States.

Vega Sold to WhiteWave Foods

On June 9, 2015, Denver-based WhiteWave Foods Company (WhiteWave) announced that it had agreed to acquire Vega, a Vancouver-based nutrition company. Founded in 2004 and with sales of US$100-million in 2014, Vega was sold by its founding president, Charles Chang, and VGM Equity Partners for US$550-million. It is expected that Vega will strengthen WhiteWave's share of the natural and organic dairy market, adding to WhiteWaves's popular product line of Silk Milk alternatives.

SunOpta Acquires Sunrise Growers

On July 31, 2015, SunOpta Inc. (SunOpta) made a strategic acquisition of Sunrise Holdings Inc. (Sunrise Growers) from an investor group led by Paine & Partners LLC. The transaction was valued at US$450-million. U.S.-based Sunrise Growers' market share of conventional and organic frozen fruit complements the Canadian-based SunOpta, a leading global company focused on organic and non-genetically modified and specialty foods.

G3 Acquires Interest in Canadian Wheat Board

On April 15, 2015, G3 Global Grain Group (G3) acquired a 50.1 per cent stake in the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB), a Winnipeg-based grain trader. G3 purchased the interest from the Government of Canada for a price of US$250-million. G3 is a joint venture between the U.S. agricultural conglomerate Bunge Limited and the Saudi Agricultural and Livestock Investment Company. The CWB's grain handling and marketing assets were combined with those of Bunge Canada Ltd., a unit of Bunge Ltd., to form a new company called G3 Canada Ltd., a coast-to-coast grain enterprise that provides a path for farmers to deliver their product from Canadian fields to global markets. The remaining 49.9 per cent equity of the new enterprise is held in trust for, and allocated to, participating Canadian grain farmers (at no cost to the farmers), with G3 having the right to buy the farmers' stakes in the future at fair market value.

Pinnacle Foods Acquires Garden Protein International

On November 14, 2014, the U.S.-based Pinnacle Foods Inc. (Pinnacle) acquired Garden Protein International Inc. (Garden) from Garden's founder and president, Yves Potvin, and TSG Consumer Partners LLC. Pinnacle paid a purchase price of US$153.90-million for the Canadian-based Garden, which is the manufacturer of the plant-based protein brand, gardein", one of the fastest growing frozen health and wellness brands on the U.S. market. The acquisition adds to Pinnacle's position as a leader in the shelf-stable and frozen-foods segments.

Saputo Bakery Acquired by Canada Bread

On February 2, 2015, Canada Bread Company, Limited (Canada Bread), a subsidiary of Mexico's Grupo Bimbo S.A.B. de C.V. (Grupo Bimbo), acquired the entire share capital of Saputo Bakery, Inc., a subsidiary of Montréal-based Saputo, Inc., for a purchase price of US$103.06-million. Canada Bread, itself having been acquired by Grupo Bimbo in May 2014, is a leading producer and distributor of packaged fresh bread and bakery products. Saputo Bakery, Inc., now operating under the name Vachon Bakery Inc., will continue to be a leading producer of snack cakes in Canada, bringing together its well-positioned brands and complementing Canada Bread's product portfolio and its distribution and manufacturing footprint.

Viterra Agrees to Acquire TRT-ETGO

On August 27, 2015, Viterra Inc. (Viterra), a unit of Glencore Xstrata PLC, signed a purchase agreement to acquire the shares of Twin Rivers Technologies Holdings Entreprises De Transformation De Graines Oleagineuses Du Quebec Inc. (TRT-ETGO). Viterra, one of Canada's grain industry leaders, bought TRT-ETGO from Twin Rivers Technologies LP, which was owned by Felda Global Ventures Holdings Berhad (FGV), for US$142.59-million. TRT-ETGO owns a large oilseed processing plant in Eastern Canada, in operation since 2010, which produces vegetable oil for the food and industrial markets, as well as meal for the livestock industry.

Featured Global Transactions

Heinz in Mega-Merger with Kraft

On July 2, 2015, the Kraft Heinz Company (Kraft Heinz) announced the successful completion of the merger between Kraft Foods Group, Inc. (Kraft) and the H.J. Heinz Company (Heinz), a historic transaction that brought two iconic brands together and combined two unparalleled product portfolios. Heinz, which was jointly owned by Berkshire Hathaway Inc. and 3G Capital Partners Ltd., merged with Kraft through a stock swap transaction valued at US$46.106-billion. This transaction value includes Heinz's offer of US$36.331-billion in its shares, based on a market capitalization on the last full trading day prior to the announcement of the deal, as well as US$16.5 in cash dividend per common share, restricted stock unit and performance unit. Following the merger, the original Heinz and Kraft shareholders each owned 51 per cent and 49 per cent, respectively, of Kraft Heinz. Together, Kraft Heinz becomes the third-largest food and beverage company in North America and the fifth-largest in the world.

Smucker's Acquires Big Heart Pet Brands

On March 23, 2015, The J.M. Smucker Company (Smucker's) completed its acquisition of Big Heart Pet Brands (Big Heart) from Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. L.P., Vestar Capital Partners, Inc. and Centerview Partners Holdings LLC. The value of the transaction, at US$3.17-billion, does not include an additional US$2.5-billion in net debt that was paid off by Smucker's at the close of the transaction. Based in San Francisco, Big Heart is a leading producer, distributor and marketer of premium-quality, branded pet food and snacks in the United States. The acquisition complements Smucker's role as a leading marketer and manufacturer of consumer food and beverage, pet food and snacks in North America, adding to its US$8-billion annual sales.

Nomad Acquires Iglo

On June 1, 2015, Nomad Holdings Limited (Nomad), of the British Virgin Islands, completed its acquisition of Iglo Foods Holdings Limited (Iglo) with a purchase price of US$2.81-billion. Upon completion of the acquisition from Permira Advisers LLP, Nomad changed its name to Nomad Foods Ltd. (Nomad Foods). As one of Europe's leading frozen-food companies, the U.K.-based Iglo adds its core brands of Iglo, Birds Eye and Findus to Nomad Foods.

Sime Darby Plantation Acquires New Britain Palm Oil

On March 3, 2015, Sime Darby Plantations Sdn Bhd (Sime Plantation), the plantation arm of Malaysian conglomerate Sime Darby Bhd (Sime Darby), completed the acquisition of Papua New Guinea-based New Britain Palm Oil Ltd. (New Britain). New Britain is one of the world's largest fully integrated producers of sustainable palm oil, palm seeds and sugarcane. Sime Plantation paid US$1.708-billion to acquire New Britain from Kulim (Malaysia) Bhd, adding its 135,000 hectares of land to Sime Plantation's total land bank, which now brings Sime Planation's land holdings to nearly one-million hectares, across five countries.

EWOS Sold to Cargill

On August 17, 2015, U.S.-based Cargill, Inc., agreed to acquire EWOS AS (EWOS) from Altor Fund III and Bain Capital Europe III for US$1.502-billion. The purchase of EWOS, a Norwegian-based global leader in salmon nutrition, gives Cargill entry into the salmon market and strengthens Cargill's animal nutrition business as a leading player in the growing salmon feed industry, one of the most advanced segments in global aquaculture. The transaction included the acquisition of seven feed manufacturing facilities in Norway, Chile, Canada, Scotland and Vietnam, as well as two research and development centres in Norway and Chile.

Renhe Commercial Holdings Acquires Yield Smart

On June 9, 2015, Renhe Commercial Holdings Company Ltd. (Renhe) entered into an agreement to acquire the entire share capital of Yield Smart Limited (Yield Smart) for US$1.485-billion. Yield Smart is a fresh fruit and vegetable wholesaler and retailer, which operates eight markets in six cities across China. Renhe bought Yield Smart from New Amuse Ltd., a subsidiary of Shouguang Dili Agri-Products Group Company Limited, in a stock swap transaction, where the consideration consisted of Renhe assuming US$190.9-million in liabilities in addition to the issuance of US$1.295-billion worth of Renhe's ordinary shares.

Olam Buys Archer Daniels-Midland Cocoa

On December 15, 2014, Olam International Limited (Olam), a commodity trader controlled by Singapore's state investment firm, agreed to acquire Archer-Daniels-Midland Co.'s cocoa business (ADM) for US$1.3-billion. The acquisition will make Olam one of the world's top-three processors of cocoa, with the combined entity having 16 per cent of the world's processing capacity and access to 20 per cent of the global supply. On June 11, 2015, the European Commission approved the acquisition, concluding that it raised no competition concerns.

JBS Australia Acquires Primo

On March 30, 2015, JBS Australia Pty Limited (JBS Australia), the Australian arm of the Brazilian food processor JBS S.A., acquired the Primo Group (Primo) for US$1.256-billion. Primo, Australia and New Zealand's largest ham, bacon and small-goods producer, has more than 4,000 employees, five production units, seven distribution centres, and 30 retail outlets. The deal is part of JBS S.A.'s global extension from fresh meat into the value-added processed-foods industry and is expected to provide a launching pad to export protein to Asia.

MOM Brands Bought by Post

On May 4, 2015, Post Holdings, Inc. (Post) completed its acquisition of the privately held MOM Brands Company (MOM Brands) for US$1.18-billion. Post is a U.S.-based consumer packaged goods holding company, and MOM Brands has over a century of experience and is best known for selling lower-priced cereals. The acquisition results in Post having roughly 18 per cent of the ready-to-eat cereal sales in the U.S., compared to Kellogg and General Mills' combined market share of 65 per cent.

Arca Continental and Corporacion Lindley Form Alliance

On September 10, 2015, Arca Continental S.A.B. de C.V. (AC) and Corporacion Lindley S.A. (CL) signed a definitive agreement to integrate their operations. The deal involved AC acquiring a 53.16 per cent interest in CL at a price of US$758.771-million. CL, the sole Coca-Cola bottler in Peru, and AC, with operations in Mexico, Ecuador, Argentina and the U.S., will integrate with AC to form a company with revenues of roughly US$5.4-billion. The transaction was approved by The Coca-Cola Company.

To continue reading this article, please click here.


1 Jeff Rubin, The Carbon Bubble: What Happens to Us When It Bursts, Random House Canada, Toronto (2015).

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Events from this Firm
26 Oct 2018, Other, Vancouver, Canada

Cybersecurity, including data privacy and security obligations, has become a critical chapter in every company’s risk management playbook.

30 Oct 2018, Other, Toronto, Canada

Please join us for discussions on recent updates and legal developments in pension and employee benefits as well as employment law issues.

12 Nov 2018, Other, Toronto, Canada

Stories aren’t falsehoods. Stories are the root of all effective human communications: they motivate, animate and clarify. If you aren’t telling stories, you probably aren’t getting your point across.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP
In association with
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions