The retail and food service sectors are both facing different yet significant challenges related to COVID-19, according to the president of Canada Beef.Click here to see more...
Michael Young says beef demand at retail is up 50 to 75 per cent as consumers stock-up to prepare food at home, while the food service and hospitality sector is reporting a 50 to 90 per cent decrease in demand as restaurants are forced to close out-right or shut down in-house service.
"It's too early to know what the impact of COVID-19 has been on retail food prices," added Young. "What we do know so far is that supply chain is working very hard to keep shelves full. Current prices are a reflection of a supply-and-demand situation...this is expected to be short term as the supply chain will adjust to meet demand and the pace of retail purchases normalizes."
He notes international export markets are experiencing similar conditions as they too adapt various social-distancing measures.
Meantime, Canada Beef consumer marketing efforts have pivoted to fit the changing landscape brought on by COVID-19.
The organization has had to modify a pair of ground beef marketing campaigns that were set for release last month. Young explains the parallel initiatives originally spoke to the culinary enjoyment of beef, as well as the producers and systems that produce Canada's high-quality beef. With people self-isolating and having stocked up on food, Young says Canadians are cooking at home more than ever and as a result, the revised campaign speaks to home preparation and helps build culinary skills.
"Unlike many previous disease outbreak issues, COVID-19 has not been about food safety or consumer confidence issues with food products, but rather has been about the effects of social-distancing strategies and their impact on food production, distribution and consumer lifestyle factors," explained Young.
As result, Canada Beef is working with national partners to produce and distribute resources that focus on safe guarding Canadian meat supply during the outbreak. A fact sheet has been developed that outlines the measures taken by the Canadian meat industry to protect against the virus at primary and secondary processing levels. As well, a two-part video series will be posted online that reflects and supports the theme of securing Canada's beef supply from both a producer and primary processing point of view.
"Canada Beef is committed to delivering value to its cattle producer funders and stakeholders during this time," added Young.