Food Development and Processing in

Prince Edward Island

PEI’s Food Development and Processing Sector Snapshot

Opportunity is waiting in the Food Development and Processing sector in Prince Edward Island. Known as Canada’s Food Island, located in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, PEI is home to hundreds of acres of farmland and access to some of the world’s finest seafood. 

In fact PEI is home to 1,195  farms, and farmland represents about 42.5% of the total land area, the average size of a farm on PEI is 425 acres¹. Our farms produce quality grains, oilseeds, fruit, beef & dairy products, hogs, poultry, and vegetables including, of course, our famous PEI potatoes. The waters surrounding the Island include a bounty of fish, shellfish and of course world-famous PEI lobster, mussels, and oysters. 

Through the Food Island Partnership, PEI’s  Food producers and entrepreneurs have access to the support of a strong ecosystem and are creating, developing, scaling and exporting products around the world. From accelerator programs, mentorship, strategic funding programs, and processing space, resources are available to support food processing companies’ ability to thrive.

Competitive Advantages: 

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Industry Landscape

A  strong food ecosystem supported by a history of producing and exporting quality products.


A humble, hardworking workforce committed to quality products and maintaining the moniker of Canada’s Food Island.

Cost Effective Location & Business Supports

A cost-effective location for business supported by a vibrant, diverse, growing economy, industry expertise, and strategic funding support. 

A Place to Live that Works

Beautiful and safe communities, minimal traffic, more affordable housing and a quality of life that is second to none.


The Food Development and Processing sector is diverse and dominated by SME’s in the province. Producers are attracted to PEI because of our high-quality agriculture and aquaculture products, our geographical location, access to skilled labour and an infrastructure that has been developed to support  PEI food businesses ability to grow, scale and increase export potential. 


  • The seafood sector contributes $377 million to the Island’s economy.²
  • PEI Produces over 25% of Canada’s oysters while over 80% of Canadian mussels are produced in PEI.³
  • A skilled workforce of over 8,000 during peak season.⁴ 


  • The agriculture sector contributed $411.7 million to the Island’s GDP. ⁵
  • Between 2017-2021, the top three crops/commodities produced in PEI were potatoes, dairy, cattle and calves.⁶
  • Employs a workforce of 3,783 individuals directly.

Value-added Manufacturing

  • Food manufacturing sector over $352.9 million to the Island’s GDP. ⁸ 
  • Over 110 food and beverage manufacturing operations.
  • Employs a workforce of 2,470 individuals directly.⁹

To ensure ongoing growth of the sector, world-class infrastructure has been established to support business from start-up, scale-up to export.

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Food Island Partnership

An industry-led organization tasked with growing the food industry through food company and food cluster development on Prince Edward Island

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Bio Food Tech

Provides specialized professional technical services to food and bioprocessing companies to transform ideas into reality, and support scale-up, and commercialization.

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Canada's Smartest Kitchen

Provides clients with confidential food & beverage product development support using their proprietary SMART Process to deliver market-validated product development solutions.

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A virtual business incubator focused on food-to-pharma. Atlantic Canadian companies receive comprehensive support customized to their specific needs. 

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Startup Zone

Accelerates new startups or existing businesses by connecting them with the space, resource, and supports they need to grow.

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Our food business ecosystem reflects the many partners across PEI that offer support at each stage of the business cycle. From skills training to incubator programs, funding, technical expertise, processing space and much more, food entrepreneurs will find everything they need to build a thriving business on Canada’s Food Island.


Regional talent draw base

A talent draw base of over 16,000 skilled people employed in Atlantic Canada’s Agriculture and Aquaculture labour force.10

Loyal Workforce

The average job tenure in PEI is over 8.5 years!11

Skilled + Knowledgeable Talent

The fishing, agriculture and value-added food manufacturing industries employ over 8,670 people in PEI.12

PEI's Talent Pipeline


  • Home to three post-secondary institutions – training, and upskilling key talent for the Food Development and Processing industry.
  • 33% of employment in Atlantic Canada’s manufacturing sector is in the Food, beverage and tobacco subsector.
  • A talent draw base of over 16,000 skilled people employed in Atlantic Canada’s Agriculture and Aquaculture labour force.
  • 21 public post-secondary institutions to draw from in the Atlantic Canada region, 19 within a five-hour drive from PEI!
  • PEI companies can access the support of Innovation PEI’s Talent Recruitment Specialist, supporting companies and their HR teams in developing unique talent recruitment strategies to support business growth.
  • Access to the permanent Atlantic Immigration Program to support faster hiring of international graduates and internationally trained talent.

PEI’s Post-Secondary Institutions & Training Partners

Cost Effective Location & Business Supports

Our business support programs have been designed to support the growth of PEI’s strategic sectors. Innovation PEI’s programming can help food development & processing companies in PEI grow, gain access to capital infrastructure, and increase export potential.

Featured Programs for Food Development and Processing Companies

Capital Acquisition Assistance supports Prince Edward Island businesses investing in technology, equipment, and infrastructure needed to grow their business and increase capacity and competitiveness. The program provides businesses with financial assistance to leverage other traditional and non-traditional financing and reduce risk.


Food Product Development Assistance is available to Prince Edward Island businesses to access professional and technical assistance in creating or improving a new food product or process. This assistance can be used to develop and test new and improved products and processes, and other technical development-related activities.

Funding through this program is intended to support the engagement of expertise as the business moves its product or process from the earliest stage of development through to commercialization.


Innovation PEI provides unique and innovative approach to help ICT companies. A labour rebate is much more flexible than traditional tax credits.

PEI’s Labour Rebate Highlights:

  • Rebate on labour expenditures based on PEI
  • Easy claiming process – no complex filing
  • Quarterly claiming process to ease cash flow
  • No limits on job functions
  • Companies are pre-approved before costs are incurred


Marketing Assistance helps Prince Edward Island businesses with marketing costs to execute exporting plans and activities. The fund enables businesses to accelerate sales and increase their market reach.


Export Trade Assistance provides support to Prince Edward Island small business and is available to active exporters and export-ready companies to explore new global opportunities. Support may be available for Innovation PEI’s Global Trade coordinated trade activities, including virtual trade initiatives, focused on international and domestic exporting; and bringing buyers and business partners to Prince Edward Island to strengthen business relationships or close sales.


Visit our complete list of available business support programs here.


Not only is Prince Edward Island the ideal location for business, it offers an opportunity to experience a quality of life that is second to none. With Prince Edward Island’s like-minded communities, thriving arts and culture environment, and coastal lifestyle, you are sure to find a place to live that works.

Learn more about living in PEI.


 Need more information about the Food Development and Processing Sector in Prince Edward Island? Get in touch with one of our team members to navigate opportunities and incentives, get in-depth industry information, and make connections with key business leaders.

Brad Mix


Doug MacDonald

Senior Investment Officer, Aerospace and Defence, Marine & Advanced Manufacturing, Clean Technology


1. Agriculture on PEI. May 2023. PEI Department of Agriculture

2, 3 & 4. Province of Prince Edward Island (2021). Economic Contributions of the Seafood Sector in Prince Edward Island. May 2023. PEI Department of Fisheries & Communities (Fisheries, Tourism, Sport & Culture)

5 & 8. Province of Prince Edward Island (2023). 2022 Preliminary Real GDP By Industry report. May 2023. PEI Statistics Bureau, Department of Finance

6. St. Pierre, Michelle (2022). Canadian Agriculture at a Glance, Prince Edward Island Leads the Way In Potato Production. May 2023. Statistics Canada.

7, 9 & 12. Statistics Canada. (May 2023) Table 32-10-0243-01  Paid labour, Census of Agriculture, 2021

10. Employment And Social Development Canada (2022). Industry Brief: Agriculture and Aquaculture Atlantic Region 2022. May 2023. Labour Market Directorate, Service Canada Atlantic Region esdc/jobbank/SectoralProfiles/ATL/2022/IndustryBrief-IndustrieEnBref-AGR-2022-EN.pdf

11. Statistics Canada (2023) Table 14-10-0055-01  Job tenure by industry, annual