Monday, July 15, 2024

Quebec pays $3 million to PepsiCo in the name of food independence

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Maria Gill
Maria Gill
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In protest of the need to increase “food independence” in Quebec, the Department of Agriculture will pay a $3 million subsidy to US giant PepsiCo for a new cornflake production line in Levis.

Frito-Lay, a subsidiary of PepsiCo, intends to invest $90 million to install this new production unit and $40 million to build a “high-tech warehouse,” the government notes.

Expansion should allow creation of 50 jobs, specify Newspaper PepsiCo spokeswoman Sherri Morgan. She adds that work should start soon and be completed by the end of 2025.

“This project will reduce imports of corn flakes from the United States,” said Alexandra Hody, a spokeswoman for Agriculture Minister Andre Lamontani.

The $3 million grant comes from an envelope of $157 million announced in the fall of 2020 with the goal of “increasing food independence” in Quebec.

An approach that raises questions according to Patrick Mundler, a professor in the department of agro-food economics at Laval University, when asked whether it would be appropriate to include potato chips in an initiative on food independence.

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unclear concept

“Of course, when we talk about food self-sufficiency in Quebec, I think first of the development of local farms,” ​​he notes.

In contrast to the concepts of food self-sufficiency (producing 100% of what we consume) and food security (ensuring universal access to healthy food by relying on domestic production and imports), food autonomy is less clear-cut, Mr. Mundler points out.

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“Food self-sufficiency means an increased share of Quebec products in Quebec dishes, but this remains a bit ambiguous,” he says.

Agronomist Pascal Terriault, lecturer at McGill University, agrees that cornflakes are “not the healthiest food on Earth.”

Added Value

Nevertheless, the specialist sees good in Quebec’s efforts. “We still produce a lot of agricultural commodities that we often process elsewhere and then come back here. So there is a large part of the added value that is leaving Quebec,” stresses Mr. Tyrault.

This is not the first time that the government has provided assistance to a foreign multinational food company. In November 2020, Quebec announced a $2 million loan to Kraft for its Mont-Royal ketchup production line.

In 2021, PepsiCo reported net profits of $7.6 billion and revenue of $79.5 billion.

Food self-sufficiency according to Quebec

“Increasing our food supply in Quebec to reduce our dependence on external supplies, while offering diverse products at competitive prices.”

Source: MAPAQ

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