Canada’s changing demographics an opportunity for the beef industry

Submitted by Canada Beef

December is a good time to take stock of the programs and activities undertaken by Canada Beef to increase demand for Canadian beef while ensuring the maximum value for producer dollars. In addition to reflecting on current domestic and international market development and promotion, the process includes a ‘what if’ blue sky approach to addressing new challenges and opportunities to ensure continued momentum of Canada Beef’s efforts to keep beef on the plates of Canadian consumers.

Maintaining market share in the wake of persistent production challenges that have the beef cycle headed to a supply low will be top of mind at Canada Beef going forward. Accordingly, Canada Beef has already identified an opportunity to expand our consumer base – by adapting the way we merchandise and promote beef to appeal to new Canadians.

Canada recently reported the highest population growth rate for a 12-month-period since 1957. Ontario continues to be a top destination for immigrants, and more than half of the provinces seeing record population growth mostly due to international migration.

Statistics Canada anticipates that, if the pace of current population growth continues, by 2048 immigrants and their families will represent more than half of the total Canadian population.

Canada Beef President Michael Young said there are few indications the trend that has earned Canada the repeated distinction of leading G7 countries for population growth globally will slow down anytime soon. “The way we merchandise and promote beef must adapt to changing demographics,” he said. “This is a tremendous opportunity to expand our customer base and ensure beef is a protein of choice for current, newly arrived and future Canadian consumers.”

Canada Beef is developing an approach formerchandising and consumer marketing resources for new Canadians, primarily major ethnic groups including individuals from India (non-Hindu), China, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Africa, Philippines, etc. The approach includes education and awareness about ethnic merchandising styles and resource development for industry, and culturally appropriate images and recipes for consumers.

The approach will be funded as a new import levy investment opportunity for generic beef marketing – or the promotion of unbranded beef. Funds remitted through the import levy are invested in programming focused on increasing the demand for beef in Canada.

Young and Canada Beef Incoming President Eric Bienvenue discussed the approach with Beef Farmers of Ontario leadership recently and highlighted the immediate opportunity for generic beef merchandising in Ontario, home to 42.3% of total immigrants coming to Canada in 2022.

The import levy is set up to be equivalent to the domestic beef check-off on a per head or carcass equivalent basis. In Ontario, the national check-off domestic portion is $1, and so the import levy is also set at $1. If Ontario increased its share of national check-off to $2.50 per head, the import levy would also increase to $2.50 per head (or equivalent for carcass and cuts).

Such a move would trigger an additional $1.5 million in funding for generic beef promotion.

Furthermore, the programs and tactics that are developed using import levy dollars can be repurposed and used by all provincial cattle associations to support their own beef-centric programs at home. Canada Beef can do the same for its international offices.

“This is the way forward for our beef industry,” Young said. “This is an opportunity to get in on the ground level and build resources for industry that will help newcomers become – and stay – beef lovers for life.”

Generic beef marketing activities funded by import levy investments help keep beef on the plate of Canadians by promoting the healthfulness of beef, growing consumer culinary skills, and reinforcing food safety practices. Current generic beef marketing resources and programming can be found on the website.

By Tayla Fraser November 27, 2023

Older Newer