Highlights of this month’s issue:
Moving Ahead On Traceability
Ontario Corn Fed Beef is taking steps to move its on-farm quality assurance program forward. The next innovation for the program uses traceability technology to transfer the key production information of the Corn Fed program into an electronic format.
Markets: Understanding The Non-Ag Factors
With a new planting season getting underway, market watchers will be monitoring the impact of the weather on grain and oilseed markets. Steve Kell, a grain merchandiser with Parrish & Heimbecker, credits farmers for being good at understanding how the fundamentals of supply and demand in agricultural production affect the prices. But Kell says there are several other factors that are not related to agriculture that also merit close attention.
Safety important but room for brand recognition growth, survey shows
Food safety is top of mind for most retail and food service buyers of Ontario beef, but there are differences in who they think should be responsible for ensuring it.
And that’s where there could be opportunity for the Ontario Corn Fed Beef brand, according to a business-to-business research recently completed by Strategic Research Associates for the Ontario Cattle Feeders’ Association.
The research included confidential interviews with senior level managers at major Ontario grocery distributors and retail and food service chains, as well as store level managers and butchers.
Ontario Corn Fed Beef is earning rave reviews from officials at Loblaw Companies.
Brad Porter, senior category director for conventional meat and seafood, says they had high hopes for the brand when the company launched it in 156 stores across Ontario last May.
Not only did it meet expectations, the products also played a big role in delivering higher customer satisfaction scores in the meat departments.
Porter shared some of the consumer statistics during his presentation at the Beef Industry Convention.
A recent study in Ontario dispels the notion that consumers are only interested in cheap food. In fact, the survey by Strategic Research Associates (SRA) of Guelph found that consumers are not only willing to pay more for safer food; they will also pay a premium for beef raised in Ontario.
John Vieira, director of client services for SRA, shared the results of the study at the Beef Industry Convention in London.
Looking ahead to 2012, Jim Clark, executive director of the Ontario Cattle Feeders’ Association, says the top priorities will be meeting increased demand for Ontario Corn Fed Beef and doing more to promote brand awareness.
Clark told Beef Industry Convention in London (Jan. 6) that 2011 proved to be a monumental year for the brand as the OCFA worked to maintain existing partnerships while also expanding the program to include Canada’s largest food retailer, Loblaw Companies.
Dale Pallister will lead the Ontario Cattle Feeders’ Association Board of Directors in 2012. The Dundalk-area farmer was acclaimed to the position at the OCFA’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) Jan. 5 in London.
Doug Kaufman of Woodstock will continue as Vice-President and Ron Bennett, who farms in the Gorrie area, will serve as Second Vice-President.
The OCFA welcomes a new director to the board this year. Mike Conlin accepted the nomination at the AGM.
Mike farms north of Lucan with his father and uncle. They finish approximately 4,500 head of cattle per year. Certified for the Ontario Corn Fed Beef program, Conlin praises the hard work done by the board and OCFA executive director Jim Clark to establish the brand in the Ontario market.
“The beef and meat industry is so tough to make inroads in and they’ve given us great opportunity,” he says.
Returning to the board of directors are John Baitley, Bob Brander, Dave Gardiner, Doug Gear, Murray Legge, Matt McCall, Barry Pletch, Curtis Royal and Paul Sharpe.