The Canada Food Price Report for 2019 had reported that the cost of meat was set to fall because Canadians were adopting plant-based diets. However, the CMC said that the beef demand index was strong, only showing a decrease of 2% demand in 2018, but maintaining levels not seen since the late ’80s.
The CMC cited Statistics Canada data, which showed that meat consumption by Canadians had decreased steadily between 2004 and 2015, and not suddenly because of any specific dietary trends.
“The report is misleading and makes assumptions that meat prices in Canada could go down because of demand and new market entries, when in fact many factors need to be considered,” said Chris White, president of the CMC. “The global spike in meat prices in 2013-14 drove worldwide meat production expansion. Increased supply has allowed prices to begin to decline across the world, including in Canada.”
He said that market pressures, such as feed prices and other factors, could also affect the price of animals, and this trickled down to the retail price of meat. Despite recent price decreases in beef by 4.2% over last October, prices throughout 2018 have been higher than the five-year average, with prices also being pressured by higher domestic beef supply, as opposed to a decrease in demand.
White added: “It’s simply a case of increased supply reducing the price.
“The Canadian Food Price Report 2019 shows the prices of foods since 1986, and meat rose significantly from 2012 to 2016, so the small recent decrease in price is also likely due to a market correction, and not directly linked to new market entries.
“While some Canadians are exploring new protein options, they also understand moderation, which applies to all aspects of life. Families are eating red meat well within Canada’s Food Guide recommendations and, more importantly, they understand the benefits of the essential nutrients that red meat provides,” said White.
According to an Ipsos poll conducted in September 2017 of 1,000-plus Canadians, 72% of respondents reported eating three or less servings of meat a week. Encouragingly, three out of four respondents understood the important role that red meat plays in getting essential nutrients for health. These findings were consistent with Health Canada data, which reported that, of the 21 meals available in a week, three to four included a serving of red meat.