September 7, 2011


Higher price deters Canadian consumers from buying organic beef



Canadian consumers who desire leaner meat with no hormones or antibiotics are not keen to pay its higher cost, according to farmer Cristopher Weder.


Heritage Beef, which processes up to 250 animals a week, ships much of its product to Europe, a market that opened further last fall when the EU agreed to accept up to 20,000 tonnes of Canadian hormone-free beef a year duty-free. It is a market expected to be worth CAD10 million (US$10.1 million) a year.


In trying to capitalise for the move toward healthier eating, Weder have worked hard in developing niche markets in Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver and the Lower Mainland.  However, people who have said that they wanted to eat leaner meat with no hormones or antibiotics are not willing to pay its higher cost, Weder said.


Reynold Bergen, the science director of the Canadian Cattlemen's Association, estimates that, on average, natural beef costs about CAD0.83 (US$0.84) more per pound. That premium has to be added to all the cuts, he pointed out, not just steaks.


Natural or organic beef is hormone-and antibiotic-free which is grain or grass finished grown without synthetic chemical fertilisers or pesticides.

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