Driving Domestic Demand: Investing Canada’s Beef Import Levy

In order to help keep beef on the plates of Canadian consumers, the Canadian Beef Check-Off Agency (the Agency) has put nearly $10 million in import levy dollars to work in Canada’s beef industry over the past ten years. These investments are made by Canada Beef into marketing and promotion of beef here in Canada, which is a significant contribution to our industry’s most important market: our domestic market.

The import levy was set up in 2013 to be equivalent to the lowest national portion of the domestic check-off on a per head or carcass equivalent basis. This means that today, ten years later, the import levy sits at $1 per head equivalent, or about $1 million annually.

While import levy dollars cannot be directly invested into market development and promotion strategies that bear the Canadian Beef brandmark, they are used to develop a plethora of strategies and resources through generic beef marketing: the promotion of unbranded beef. These activities focus on keeping beef on the plate of Canadian consumers by promoting the healthfulness of beef, growing consumer culinary skills, and reinforcing food safety practices. Generic beef marketing resources and programming can be found on the ThinkBeef.ca website.

The programs and tactics that are developed using these import levy dollars are multifaceted – they can be repurposed and used by all provincial cattle associations to support their own beef-centric programs at home. This means that all the investments into generic beef marketing through the import levy can be leveraged at no additional cost by producer associations across the country. This includes resources developed for doctors and health professionals, recipes, research, culinary skill development resources, videos, and a whole lot more.

In 2018, the Agency facilitated a return-on-investment study aimed specifically at the import levy, and the investments made into the beef industry with those import levy dollars. The study found that the import levy returned 6:1 on investment in Canada’s beef industry. It also showed, however, that despite positive benefits, under investment continues for the Canadian beef cattle industry.

Data shows that on average, only 22 per cent of the import levy comes from imported cattle; the remaining 78 per cent is on beef and beef products entering Canada for sale. Of the import levy collected on live cattle, about 83 per cent of that is attributed to cattle imported into western Canada, and 17 per cent on cattle imported into eastern Canada.

The Canadian beef industry stands to gain substantial value from any future increase in investment to the import levyallocated to Canada Beef’s generic beef programs.

To learn more about the import levy itself, visit www.cdnbeefcheckoff.ca/import-levy, or for more information on the programs and strategies delivered by Canada Beef through import levy investment, visit www.thinkbeef.ca.

By Tayla Fraser November 29, 2023

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