Residents in Metro Vancouver consume about 2.54 million tonnes of food per year.
That’s a lot of food, and according to a new study, the volume is more than half, or around 53 percent, of the total food supply in B.C.
Know how much food was produced in Greater Vancouver?
It’s around 14 percent of what the region consumes, based on the study done by Davies Transportation Consulting Inc.
The study was commissioned by the Metro Vancouver regional government, which considers the research as groundbreaking.
“It is the first time this data has been compiled in one place to give a new perspective on the BC food supply and the region’s food distribution system,” Theresa Duynstee, a senior planner with the regional planning and housing services, wrote in a report.
Duynstee’s report is included in the agenda Friday (June 12) of Metro Vancouver’s regional planning committee.
“It is anticipated that the results will be used to inform other studies related to regional land use planning, good movements, emergency management and climate change adaptation,” the planner stated.
The Davies Transportation study used 2018 figures from Statistics Canada.
Summarizing the results of the study, Duynstee wrote that the total annual food supply, based on consumption, in B.C. is estimated to be 4.8 million tonnes.
“It was estimated that the source of the BC food supply includes 39.6% from international imports, 27.1% inter-provincial and 34.9% intraprovincial,” Duynstee stated.
As for Metro Vancouver, the region produces 14 percent of its food supply, and gets 32 percent of its supply from within B.C.
“Trucking dominates the food supply chain for Metro Vancouver,” according to Duynstee.
Duynstee also noted that “both self-sufficiency and resilience contributes to food security”.
“There is value in having multiple sources of food, both local and imported,” the regional planner wrote.
Duynstee also provided a number of highlights from the Davies Transportation study:
B.C. produces 80 percent of fluid milk, but imports 70 percent of cheese and processed milk from other provinces. Metro Vancouver (14 percent) and the Fraser Valley (62 percent) account for 76 percent of provincial fluid milk supply.
B.C. is self-sufficient in poultry products (chicken and turkey); 24 percent is sourced from Metro Vancouver and 56 percent from the Fraser Valley.
80 percent is sourced inter-provincially.
54 percent is sourced inter-provincially, and 37 percent is intra-provincial.
Eggs produced in the Lower Mainland account for 77 percent of total B.C. production; 54,000 tonnes is sourced from Metro Vancouver (six percent), and the Fraser Valley (94 percent).
Metro Vancouver generates a surplus of seafood products as most seafood is processed in the Lower Mainland (81 percent). In 2018, commercial harvest landings were 196,300 tonnes, and aquaculture was 98,000 tonnes.
B.C. honey production is 1,544 tonnes, while consumption is 7,288 tonnes. Metro Vancouver accounts for 40 percent of B.C. production.
Some 18.5 percent of vegetables is sourced intra-provincially. B.C. potato production is 50 percent of potato consumption, and 34 percent of other vegetables. Excluding potatoes, B.C. is heavily dependent on international imports of vegetables (63 percent of vegetables consumed). The Lower Mainland accounted for 68 percent of B.C. vegetable production in 2016.
B.C. is highly dependent on international imports of fruit (98 percent of consumption). B.C. exports blueberries, cranberries and cherries.
Metro Vancouver is a major gateway for rice; imports are both international (75 percent or 92,927 tonnes) and from the U.S. (31,436 tonnes).
Some 179,229 tonnes of milling products are consumed, of which 15.3 percent are sourced intra-provincially. Wheat flour accounts for 90 percent of B.C. consumption. Most mills are located in Metro Vancouver or the Fraser Valley.