CANADA, Ottawa, On. The Canada Food Price Report for 2019 makes assumptions that the cost of meat is set to fall because Canadians are adopting plant-based diets. In fact, the beef demand index is strong, only showing a decrease of 2% demand in 2018, but maintaining levels not seen since the late ’80s. Statistics Canada data shows that meat consumption by Canadians has decreased steadily between 2004 – 2015.
Market pressures, such as feed prices and other factors, can also affect the price of animals, and this trickles 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 5-year average, with prices also being pressured by higher domestic beef supply, as opposed to a decrease in demand.
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.
With a new food guide forthcoming and media reports stating red meat recommendations would go down – CMC met with the Minister of Health in April who provided re-assurance that updated Food Guide would not tell Canadians to decrease their meat consumption, as it is an essential part of a healthy, balanced diet.
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, 3 out of 4 respondents understand the important role that red meat plays in getting essential nutrients for health. These findings are consistent with Health Canada data which reported of the 21 meals available in a week, 3 to 4 included a serving of red meat.