Industry Overview: Confectionery

Last Updated: May 12, 2016

The Canadian confectionery industry includes establishments engaged in the manufacture of chocolate and non-chocolate confectionery. Chocolates and chocolate confectionery, including chocolate covered candy and nuts, may be made from cacao beans or purchased chocolate. Non-chocolate confectionery includes candy, candied fruit, chewing gum, cough drops and lozenges, marshmallows, granola bars, and nuts.

Industry overview


In 2013, 15.8% of Canadian confectionery manufacturers were located in British Columbia, which ranks third in chocolate and sugar confectionery exporting of Canadian provinces behind Ontario and Quebec (who together account for 95% of exports). Although BC’s exports make up just a small portion of Canada’s chocolate exports, the industry has experienced significant growth in recent years—exports more than doubled between 2008 and 2011 when they reached $54 million. BC exports made up 4% of the country’s $455 million in total exports of sugar confectionery (Agriculture and Agri-Foods Canada). Sugar sales are expected to decline slightly before leveling off in 2016.


Employment in the Canadian confectionery manufacturing industry has decreased by 4.9% annually since 2004, when 14,627 workers were employed to 9,827 in 2012. However, revenues are on the rise. Net revenues among manufacturers of chocolate confectionery made from cacao beans have increased by 20.7% per year on average reaching in $258.2 million 2012. Canadian confectionery exports totaled over $1.3 billion dollars in 2010. The United States is Canada’s largest market, accounting for almost 96% over chocolate and sugar confectionery exports. Other major markets include Mexico, Japan, and Germany.

Industry trends and challenges

Studies on the health benefits associated with chocolate have shown that chocolate may help with weight loss and brain health, and could have potential as a health food; major manufacturers are even racing to make a healthy chocolate bar. Public perception of these health benefits will likely lead to growth in dark chocolate consumption in particular, according to the National Association of Flavors & Food-Ingredient Systems (NAFFS).

Sugar confectionery, on the other hand, is competing with concerns about children's sugar consumption and childhood obesity. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada points to parental concerns about sugar intake as one of the major reason for reduced demand and innovation in the sugar confectionery industry.

In an interview with Candy Industry magazine, the V.P. of R&D at Mars Chocolate pointed to creative flavour combinations as a trend in the chocolate industry. Chocolates are available in flavours like wasabi, goat cheese, sun dried tomato, and calamari. According to the NAFFS, “as people seek enhanced flavor experiences, the chocolate industry strives to please the more adventurous palates of these consumers.” The very adventurous may be intrigued by a recent Global News spotlight on a candy shop that offers snorting chocolate.



Magazines & trade journals


Suggested search terms

Confectionery | Chocolate | Candy | Sweets | Manufacturing | Industry | Canada | "British Columbia"

Additional resources

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PHOTO CREDIT: candy, created on April 25, 2005 by Stefano Mortellaro. Image made available under Creative Commons 2.0 Generic License. Last viewed on March 30, 2015.