As the marketing division of the Canadian Beef Cattle Research, Market Development and Promotion Agency, Canada Beef is the cattle producer-funded and run organization responsible for domestic and international beef and veal market development. It has 24 staff in offices in Canada, Japan, China, Taiwan and Mexico. In addition to National Check-Off and import levy funding, Canada Beef leverages cattle producer dollars with private market partner investments and government industry development funding to maximize the benefits of producer check-off investment.
Canada Beef works to build a dynamic, profitable and competitive Canadian beef and veal industry where Canadian high-quality beef and veal products are recognized as the most outstanding by domestic and international customers. These efforts ultimately increase demand for Canadian beef and the value producers receive for their cattle.
COVID-19 Impact and Response
The COVID-19 pandemic had an enormous worldwide impact on agriculture and agri-food businesses. The rapid emergence of the pandemic impacted global supply chains and the normal daily routines of much of the world’s population. Packing plant closures and slowdowns challenged North American delivery systems to keep domestic shelves stocked and meet export market demand. Canadian consumers experienced a sense of uncertainty, which resulted in stockpiling meat and other essential supplies. The pandemic significantly affected Canada Beef programs as virtually all domestic and international activities were impacted by social distancing protocols on cattle processing, retail and foodservice operations and the ability to export products to markets.
COVID-19 Trade Outreach
Canada Beef worked collaboratively with the national associations representing beef, veal and pork. Resources were developed for Canadian consumers and for meat professionals in domestic and international markets.
The focus was to provide reassurance around the safety of the meat and our ability to maintain a stable supply by safeguarding the health of Canadians working in the sector. In addition, Canada Beef’s marketing team has developed programs to help increase consumers’ comfort and skills in preparing Canadian beef at home.
A fact sheet outlining the measures taken by the Canadian meat industry to protect against COVID-19 was produced in eight languages. It was distributed, along with a cover letter signed by seven association leaders, to meat professionals in Canada, Mexico, China, Hong Kong, Macau, Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia, South Korea, and Japan.
A double page fact sheet was created for consumers with clear, easy-to-understand information on COVID-19—what it is, how to prevent it, the assurance that domestic livestock and meat are not affected, as well as food safety tips. The factsheet is available in English and French at Canadabeef.ca.
COVID-19 Consumer Outreach
Canadians cooked at home like never before and one of the most popular items they cooked was Canadian beef. Interest in buying, preparing and serving Canadian beef was at a record high as well as the questions coming from consumers. The Canadabeef.ca website saw a 66 per cent increase in total users (93 K) and 73 per cent increase in new users of the website in March compared to the same time last year. The ThinkBeef.ca website saw a 450 per cent lift in monthly visits – up by 13,000 visits comparing traffic in February to March (to March 23).
Two scheduled consumer marketing campaigns scheduled for March 2020 have shifted focus to meet consumer needs. Restaurant options are limited. We know consumers have stocked up on beef from the grocery store and while they’re in their kitchens ready to cook, many aren’t sure where to start—they need help in the way of recipes, serving suggestions and cooking instructions. Content shifted to focus on culinary topics—with recipe inspiration to shake up mundane meal routines, and how-to information to enable consumers to brush up on their beef-centric food skills.
Domestic Market Development
Total beef consumption in 2020 is projected to be up 3 per cent with 78 per cent of beef consumed in Canada sourced from domestic production, down from 81 per cent in 2019. Wholesale demand has been relatively steady since 2016 ranging narrowly between 85.2 and 87.6. In 2020, wholesale beef demand is projected to be up 12 per cent with several demand and supply shocks resulting in volatile prices and strong retail demand—as the market was shaken by COVID-19.
Expand Programs with Retail and Foodservice Partners
By focusing on brand partners with large volumes and influence (such as Sobeys, Costco, Loblaw, Walmart, Federated Co-op, Tim Hortons, Swiss Chalet, Montana’s, Subway, Sysco), Canada Beef can ensure that these partners are well-versed in Canadian beef and can leverage the value of the Canadian Beef Brand.
This year, Canada Beef introduced a new domestic trade-marketing program called the Domestic Market Development Program. The Program provides cost-shared funding support for eligible Canadian Beef representative company-initiated projects and activities in five broad based categories essential for facilitating export market growth. It is a 50/50 per cent cost-shared funding for eligible stakeholder initiated for generic, branded and co-branded projects in Canada.
Consumer Marketing and Public Trust
Canada Beef’s social and digital spaces engage and connect with consumers and producers to build brand loyalty. With over 68,000 followers and 25 million impressions, Canada Beef continues to successfully build relationships and drive demand. In the Canadabeef.ca website, consumers and producers can source information regarding recipes, beef know-how, beef campaigns, fact sheets and events in both English and French.
The Make it Beef (MIB) monthly e-newsletter is deployed to almost 40,000 subscribers covering topics that are both culinary and brand focused. The Roundup App is a mobile beef buying and cooking app, designed to help consumers have better success with beef when they cook at home. Closely related to consumer marketing are efforts to build the beef industry’s social license with the public. Canada Beef continues to partner with the CCA and other beef industry groups to address public and consumer concerns about beef production, while also building/reinforcing the Canadian beef brand.
Generic Beef Marketing Funded by the Import Levy
The Import Levy (collected on beef imports at the equivalent rate of $1 per head) continues to provide funding for positive beef messaging across Canada. With consumers’ diminishing food skills, concerns over healthy diets and public trust issues, Canada Beef developed targeted initiatives to positively influence consumer preference for beef over other proteins. Visit www.thinkbeef.ca for access to marketing resources generated from import levy funding.
Canadian Beef Centre of Excellence
The Canadian Beef Centre of Excellence (CBCE) is a teaching/training demo theatre featuring: fabrication room; commercial and home kitchen; boardroom and dining room; world-class equipment; and, HACCP standards. The CBCE team embraced the need for digital training resources and increased distance learning opportunities. The team created educational video resources for Canada Beef’s new trade website, www.cdnbeefperforms.ca. Quick, engaging and entertaining, the videos meet the needs of four distinct Canadian beef-user audiences from aspiring home chefs and butchers to seasoned veterans in culinary and meat cutting industries.
Protect and Grow Canadian Beef in Export Markets
Canada Beef’s work in export markets is creating opportunities for the Canadian beef industry to realize greater value for the carcass than could be realized in the domestic market alone. As well as offering competitive bids on middle meats, the export markets can deliver better returns for end meats, credit/thin meats and offal than here at home. These export markets have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic similar ways to the domestic market.
Canada Beef introduced a new export program this year called the Canada Beef Export Market Development Program that provides cost-shared funding support for eligible Canadian Beef representative company-initiated projects and activities in five broad based categories essential for facilitating export market growth.
The program features 50/50 per cent cost-shared funding for eligible stakeholder-initiated projects outside of Canada with a potential
for 75/25 per cent cost-shared when stacked on provincial
Canadian beef exports from January to November 2020 were down 4.6 per cent in volume and up 0.2 per cent in value. These are down from the 2019 record high values and near record high volumes. Overall, Canadian beef export demand is projected to be up 3.4 per cent from 2019.
Stay in Touch with Canada Beef
Canada Beef launched a monthly e-newsletter to keep beef producers and stakeholders informed about the work the CB team is doing in Canada and the export marketplace. Anyone interested can sign-up at canadabeef.ca/sign-up-canada-beef-performs/.