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Demand for red meat wanes as customers look elsewhere

The rates of meat consumption and consumer demand for red meat are declining in Canada due to a combination of factors including shrinking household incomes, soaring prices, and the struggles of the restaurant industry.

A new report from Farm Credit Canada (FCC) explains that many consumers are cutting back on more expensive meals, many of which tend to contain red meat. Another factor having an effect on the dwindling demand is the recurring lockdowns and foodservice closures.

Using data from Statistics Canada, the report showed that demand for beef began declining steadily after it peaked in late 2020. Since 2021, Canadians appear to be compensating by purchasing more chicken as a substitute for red meat.

But for many Canadians, it’s not practical to change where they live or completely ditch their cars. Alter says making smaller lifestyle changes, such as eating less red meat or choosing to buy local produce, can still “significantly reduce our footprints without changing our lives dramatically.”

A recent report from Swiss investment bank Credit Suisse’s “Treeprint” calculated that it takes 44 birch trees to offset eating a 200-gram piece of steak three times a week. On the other hand, eating the same amount of chicken three times a week is only equivalent to six birch trees.

“When you put it into trees, it’s something that people can wrap their heads around and understand because everybody knows what a tree looks like,” said Lloyd Alter, who teaches sustainable design at Ryerson University’s School of Interior Design and wrote the book “Living the 1.5 Degree Lifestyle: Why Individual Climate Action Matters More Than Ever.”

“You could still eat a bit of chicken, you can still eat a bit of pork. You can eat these other meats that have a much, much lower carbon impact,” he added.

Supply chain continues to be stretched

In addition to higher meat prices, the report also showed how the COVID-19 pandemic has led to rising shipping costs and labour shortages. Meanwhile, the ongoing pandemic and the effects of climate change and severe weather continue to stretch the supply chain of vital crops.

Dr. Sylvain Charlebois, the senior director of the agri-food analytics lab at Dalhousie University, noted for CTV News that the recently introduced requirement that all truckers crossing the U.S. border into Canada show proof of vaccination will only worsen that supply chain crisis.

According to the Canadian Trucking Alliance, about 16,000 drivers could be forced off the road. For Canada, which imports about $21 billion worth of agri-food products from the United States every year, 60 to 70 per cent of which is by truck, that could be a huge strain.

Source : (17/01/2022)

Photo : Usman Yousaf ( tirée de l'article original

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