There are many steps involved in taking your product from an idea to reality. As a food processor, you will have specific obligations and responsibilities to operate your business in a safe and legal manner.

In this section you will learn:

  • different types of businesses (such as a sole proprietorship, partnership or corporation)
  • how to register your business and get a business number
  • about liability and insurance
  • how to prepare your strategic plan (vision, mission, values)

Different types of business structures

A business can be set up in many forms, including:

  • sole proprietorship (one owner)
  • partnership (two or more owners)
  • joint ventures
  • corporation (separate legal entity from the owner)
  • co-operative form of corporation
  • non-profit society

Most food businesses are usually incorporated businesses due to potential liability issues. It is not recommended to open a sole proprietorship for a food business. A tax lawyer or accountant can advise you on the best form for your business. You can find out more information about each type of business on the Government of Canada's Starting a business webpage.

Registering your business

It is a good idea to register a name for your business and obtain a business number during the early stages of your business.

When you register for a business number (BN) you will also be able to register for HST, income tax, payroll and possibly import/export accounts. Registering a business early will help you understand the tax implications that can benefit your business.

You will find tips and direction for all these steps on the Government of Canada's Starting a business webpage.

Liability and insurance

You must have the right types and the right amount of insurance. You cannot afford to be under-insured. Even a small disaster could destroy a new business.

Without proper insurance, you could be held responsible for paying for damages, or replacing lost equipment and property. You could lose your own house, car or other assets to make those payments.

You will need general insurance and as a food processor you will need coverage for product liability and complete operations liability. These types of insurance will protect you against claims by customers who experience damage or become ill from eating your food product.

Where to find an agent

Talk to other people in the food processing business to get advice on which agent or broker to use. You can also find names by searching online. As a best practice, try to get more than one quote so you can compare prices. But do not choose on price alone.

Some insurance companies have special products just for certain business sectors. Make sure and do your research to ensure the insurance you choose is right for your business.

Store owners may also demand that your product be properly insured, because they could be held liable for selling it.

Many types of insurance are available. An insurance agent or broker that understands the food industry can provide advice on what coverage you need.

Please see below links from service providers who offer this type of coverage:


United States

Check the Insurance Bureau of Canada's website to find more information on business insurance.

How to manage risk

Managing risk is very important as it helps you identify possible risks to your business and the necessary measures required to mitigate those risks. Review free online resources such as the Insurance Bureau of Canada’s Risk Management Resource. See Developing your product prototype for information on how to protect your idea.

Strategic planning (vision, mission, values)

Providing strategic direction to your new business includes writing your business plan, but that’s not the complete picture. You will also need a strategic plan that provides the big picture of where you want to go.

If you want people to support you, especially financial backers, you will need to have strategic and business plans that are thorough.

The main elements of your strategic plan are your vision, mission and values statements. There are many resources to help you write your statements. Brainstorm with your partners, experts or any mentors you may have.

Vision statement

A vision statement defines the purpose of your business in terms of your values, not just what you do. It tells the world what you want your business to be. Your vision should mean something to clients, partners and other stakeholders.

Some examples are:

  • Dr. Oetker’s vision in Canada: A market leading food company providing customers with the highest quality of innovative products and services driven by a dedicated team.
  • Maple Leaf Foods’ vision: To become the most sustainable protein company on earth.
  • Tim Hortons: Our vision is to be the quality leader in everything we do.

Mission statement

A mission statement defines what your business is and why it exists. It should identify the products you make, who you serve and describe the geographical area in which you operate.

Some examples:

Create more smiles with every sip and every bite:

  • for our consumers by creating joyful moments through our delicious and nourishing products and unique brand experiences
  • for our customers by being the best possible partner, driving game-changing innovation and delivering a level of growth unmatched in our industry
  • for our associates and our communities by creating meaningful opportunities to work, gain new skills and build successful careers and a diverse and inclusive workplace
  • for our planet by conserving nature’s precious resources and fostering a more sustainable planet for our children and grandchildren.
  • for our shareholders by delivering sustainable top-tier TSR and embracing best-in-class corporate governance

To deliver superior products and services for our guests and communities through leadership, innovation and partnerships.

Tim Hortons

Our goal is to be the best in food, health and beauty — to help Canadians live life well.



Corporate values (or core values) are the principles that guide your business’ internal conduct as well as its relationship with your customers, partners and shareholders. They are the deeply held beliefs and highest priorities that drive your actions.

An example:

PepsiCo is focused on unleashing our company’s full potential by pivoting toward sustainable accelerated growth and embracing a new mission and vision for PepsiCo’s success in what we call winning with purpose.


As you launch your business, refer to your strategic and business plans regularly. Keep them updated and share them with the people involved in your business.


  • I have considered the various forms of business ownership (such as sole proprietorships and corporations), consulted with a tax lawyer and an accountant, and have chosen the form that works best for my business.
  • If necessary, I have drawn up any partnership, shareholder, or other corporate agreements with legal advice.
  • I have chosen a name for my business and have researched it to ensure it can be registered and incorporated (if necessary).
  • I have applied for my Business Number.
  • I have met and obtained quotes from several insurance agents/brokers.
  • I have researched the products and services offered and selected the insurance that is right for my business.
  • I have product liability insurance and can demonstrate that I am adequately insured.
  • I have written vision, mission and values statements for my business.