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Is meat demand on the wane?

The latest Canada Food Price Report says lower demand for meat is in the forecast

Canadian households are going to pay more for food next year, but for the agriculture industry the telling point is what they’ll be spending their money on.

Canadian households can expect to see a 3.5 per cent increase to their overall food bill next year — spending about $411 more — according to Canada’s Food Price Report 2019 released last week.

But bigger news contained in the report relates to what Canadians won’t be spending so many food dollars on.

For the first time since the annual Canada Food Price Report began nine years ago it is forecasting Canadians will buy less meat and seafood next year, which, in turn, is expected to drive down meat prices by as much as three per cent.

This is the effect of more Canadians lowering their meat consumption by switching to plant-based protein alternatives, said the report’s lead author Sylvain Charlebois, a professor in the faculties of management and agriculture at Dalhousie University.

Dalhousie and the University of Guelph jointly released the report December 4.

“We believe that there’s going to be a lot of supply, particularly for beef,” he said.

“Demand per capita is slowing. That’s been a trend for 30 years but it seems to be accelerated.”

A survey conducted by the same universities earlier this year found that 32.2 per cent of respondents were considering reducing meat consumption.

This is on top of what’s the now 94 million fewer kilograms of beef eaten annually, compared to 2010.

For more on this topic see the complete story in the Dec. 13 edition of the Manitoba Co-operator.

About the author

Reporter

Lorraine Stevenson is a reporter and photographer for the Manitoba Co-operator with 25 years experience writing news and features. She was previously a reporter with the Farmers Independent Weekly and has also written for community newspapers in Winnipeg and Manitoba's Interlake.

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