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Core Buyers Are Loyal To Their Preferred Meats

Martin Gooch of the George Morris Centre has posted detailed reports on consumer surveys for chicken, lamb, veal and pork.

It’s the most complete set of data available and was collected with funding from the federal Agriculture Department’s National Advancing Canadian Agricultural and Agri-Food Program.

For chicken, the research found that the average Canadian household buys 20 kilograms, picks it up 11 times a year and spends $130.

Three-quarters of the chicken is bought at supermarkets – 29 per cent at Loblaws’ stores, 20 per cent at Sobeys, 17 per cent at Metro and eight per cent from club stores, such as Costco.

More than a third of the chicken is bought on price specials. The most chicken-loyal customers, called “core buyers,” spend about $229 per year on chicken, far above the average of $130.

Thirty-two per cent of the buyers are families with children. They buy 41 per cent of the volume, which is more than seniors, who make up 22 per cent of buyers and 16 per cent of the volume.

Canadians buy almost as much pork as chicken 18 kilograms per household compared with 20 for chicken. They spend a lot less for that pork an average of $103 per year compared with $130 for chicken. Thirty-seven per cent of pork sold is on a price deal.

Core buyers account for 68 per cent of the pork volume, but they are deal-conscious buyers so they spend only 63 per cent of the dollars. They buy about 34 kilograms per year for $184.

Atlantic and Quebec people buy more pork, and the Quebec people buy a lot more processed pork than the average Canadian. The Frenchspeaking people are 30 per cent of those who buy processed pork, and they buy 34 per cent of the volume.

Older people tend to buy more processed pork than younger people. Fresh pork holds 73 per cent of the market.

Veal is alone among the meats in selling more to younger people. Those households with more than $100,000 income per year are also strong buyers; they are only 15 per cent of those who buy veal, but they account for 22 per cent of the volume.

But veal is not popular; only 18 per cent of households buy it, and the average is three kilograms at $33. Core buyers account for 77 per cent of volume and 74 per cent in dollars.

The market “is quite underdeveloped among English mother-tongue households,” Gooch says in a summary of the findings.

Lamb is even less popular than veal. Only 13 per cent of Canadian households bought some last year.

Those buyers averaged four purchases totalling four kilograms for $48.

Loblaws is the biggest seller, accounting for 27 per cent of all sales; more than half of the lamb it sells is frozen.

Metro was second at 18 per cent, and even though Sobeys is the second-largest supermarket chain, it accounts for only eight per cent of sales, behind the 11 per cent sold at club stores such as Costco.

Butchers accounted for 13 per cent of sales and independent grocers for eight per cent.

Canadian lamb has only 22 per cent of the market. New Zealand lamb has 45 per cent and Australian lamb 12 per cent. Easter is the peak period for sales. “Ontario is by far the best developed lamb market,” says Gooch.

Core buyers are “vital to the lamb market,” he says in his summary, buying five times as much as the average lamb buyer and spending 10 times as much as low-volume buyers. People over 65 don’t buy much lamb.

Those involved in the study are the Canadian Pork Council, Chicken Farmers of Canada, the national supply-management agency, the Canadian Sheep Federation and the Ontario Veal Association.

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