Why Canadians are paying more for meat
Published Tuesday, May 27, 2014 9:14AM EDT
As Canadians prepare to enjoy some summertime barbecue, meat-lovers are finding the prices for many of their favourite beef and pork products have increased significantly.
According to data from Statistics Canada, the prices for pork and various beef products have gone up by five to 16 per cent since April 2013.
Compared to April 2013, this is how prices have changed:
- Round steak increased by 12 per cent
- Sirloin steal increased by 12 per cent
- Ground beef increased by 11 per cent
- Bacon increased by 8.2 per cent
- Pork chops increased by 16 per cent
- Wieners increased by 5.3 per cent
- Chicken decreased by 0.7 per cent
George Morris Centre market analyst Kevin Grier largely attributes the spike in beef and pork product prices to a decrease in supply.
"There are a variety of things that are at play that have caused supply to go down," he told CTV's Canada AM on Tuesday.
Grier said droughts in the U.S. over the last decade, and a move by the U.S. and Canadian governments to subsidize the use of corn into ethanol, which drove up the price of grain, have contributed to dwindling livestock supplies.
The high prices have affected both livestock farmers and consumers, he said, noting that first quarter data for 2014 shows Canadians are buying less beef and pork.
Grier believes that the market will eventually adjust and supply will increase over time. He doesn’t expect a quick fix, however, particularly for beef which he predicts will continue to be in "tight" supply for up to two years.
"In the animal industry it takes time. In the cattle industry it might take a year or two before we see production increases," he said. "In the pork business it might take less time, but again it's all in response to prices, and that takes time."
He rejected the suggestion that the popularity of vegetarianism or veganism might be contributing to a decline in sales.
"That's a very small segment of the consumer population. It really doesn't get any more complicated than the supply issue," he said.