Two workers looking at a tablet in dairy processing plant
Press Release

Report examines how BC dairy processing capacity might be expanded to support local milk production

Burnaby, BC – January 19, 2022 

A new report out today examines how dairy processing capacity could be expanded in BC to support growth in local milk production – and barriers to that work. 

Feeding the future: Advancing dairy processing in BC is the first project in the larger BC Dairy Processing Initiative. The BC Dairy Association (BC Dairy) developed the report in partnership with the BC Milk Marketing Board, Western Dairy Council, BC Food & Beverage, and the BC Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries. 

“Through this research we are seeking to better understand both the barriers and opportunities dairy processors would consider when deciding whether to establish new, or expand existing operations in British Columbia,” said Jeremy Dunn, BC Dairy General Manager. “BC dairy processing already plays an important role in our economy, local food supply and provincial food security. We will act on the information gleaned from this project to help make it even stronger, which will in turn support the expansion of innovative processing capacity in BC. Adding capacity will support an increase in local dairy production and food security within our communities in the long-term.”

To better understand how dairy producers can support advancement and growth, BC Dairy engaged consultant James Laws to lead this project and engage with dairy processors. In developing the report, Mr. Laws interviewed 26 processing industry leaders, ranging from some of the world’s largest food companies to boutique, on-farm operations meeting the needs of their local markets. He asked each the same questions about the current market, barriers, opportunities BC presents, regulatory and legislative frameworks, milk classifications, technology, pricing and profits, and what might attract processors to the province. 

From those discussions, Mr. Laws developed six recommendations as well as lists of both barriers to and opportunities for expanded dairy processing in the province. The recommendations include creating two new industry-led roles, including a business development officer focused on dairy processing expansion and innovation, and a processing specialist; that BC Dairy and the BC Milk Marketing Board continue to support dairy processor advocacy for a grocery code of conduct; that the Marketing Board work with its provincial counterparts and processors to simplify Canada’s milk classification and pricing system; that a dairy processing co-packing facility be established in BC; and that the province amend its Milk Industry Act and Milk Industry Standards Regulation to remove limits on the sale of dairy products to specific size, weight, or volume.

BC Dairy looks forward to working collaboratively with our processing partners, government and other stakeholders to advance sustainable growth over time for dairy, and a greater level of food security for BC and Canadian consumers.

Read the full report here: 
Feeding the future: Advancing dairy processing in BC

Media Contact
Christine Terpsma
Director of Communications and Producer Relations

About BC Dairy 
BC Dairy is a not-for-profit association that represents BC’s 470 dairy farmers. BC Dairy works to grow the market for dairy products and to support profitable, environmentally and socially responsible dairy farm businesses. We bring dairy farmers together while building lasting relationships within our communities.BC Dairy takes direction from a Board of elected and appointed dairy producer representatives, and is operated by a staff team.