Refereed academic paper for presentation
tourism industry. This paper describes a study of BC’s food artisan sector including: a definition and description of food artisans, growth in consumer demand and business, distribution mechanisms and markets, contributions to employment, future business plans and challenges to growth. The study found that consumer demand for products has been increasing whereby 80% of artisans indicated increased demand for their products over the past 3 years, Demand was generated from both resident markets (70%) and visitor markets (30%). Similarly, 85% of artisans indicated business growth over the past 3 years and 86% indicated that their future plans were continued growth. Businesses generated 100% of employment income for 48% of the artisans, with another 40% earning at least 50% of their income from their business. Employment generated by the artisan businesses was more likely to be full time and permanent, with little fluctuation in the averages by season. Artisans used a diverse distribution strategy with the top mechanisms being in local shops, farm markets, local grocery stores and restaurants. The top challenges impacting business growth were difficulties in distributing products, marketing, and accessing capital for expansion. The study provides those involved in economic development, food tourism, and business development new insights on the relative importance of the food artisan sector and its role in place making.