The Canadian Meat Council (CMC) says the 2019 Canada Food Price Report, released last week, makes assumptions that the cost of meat is set to fall because Canadians are adopting plant-based diets. The group says, the beef demand index is strong, only showing a decrease of 2% demand in 2018, but maintaining levels not seen since the late ’80s.

“The report is misleading and makes assumptions that meat prices in Canada could go down because of demand and new market entries, when in fact many factors need to be considered,” says Chris White, President of the Canadian Meat Council (CMC). “The global spike in meat prices in 2013-14 drove worldwide meat production expansion. Increased supply has allowed prices to begin to decline across the world including in Canada.”

The CMC says 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.

The group notes 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.

“While some Canadians are exploring new protein options, they also understand moderation which applies to all aspects of life. Families are eating red meat well within Canada’s Food Guide recommendations, and more importantly, they understand the benefits of the essential nutrients that red meat provides” added White.

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.

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