May 2012 News Feed Online

Highlights of this month’s issue:

Loblaws Beefs Up The Meat Case

The May issue of The News Feed highlights the move by Loblaw Companies to offer Ontario Corn Fed Beef at 46 more stores. The leading Canadian grocer has expanded the program to include Ontario Loblaws stores, Loblaw great food, the Loblaws store at Maple Leaf Gardens and Bloor Street Market. With the expansion, OCFB products are available at more than 200 Loblaw Cos. stores across the province.

Loblaw Increases Offering of OCFB

Based on the positive reception from customers and a commitment from Ontario farmers to beef up supply, Loblaw Companies Limited announced Friday (May 4) that Ontario Corn Fed Beef (OCFB) will be available at 46 more Ontario Loblaw grocery stores, bringing the total to 200 of its stores.

This program involves 500 Ontario beef farmers, with more producers expected to join the program to meet growing market demand.

Building The Corn Fed Beef Brand

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.

Making The Grade With Loblaw

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.

Lending A Helping Hand

The Ontario Cattle Feeders’ Association was honoured and humbled by the invitation to assist in the tornado relief efforts in Goderich. The “There’s No Taste Like Home,” mobile kitchen unit was dispatched to the area on Aug. 25.

We fed approximately 500 people during lunch and we also cooked beef for supper that night. Whatever was left over was used to make cold beef sandwiches.  Enough beef was prepared to feed 2,000 people.

Getting A Leg Up On The Competition

Ontario Corn Fed Beef producers are hoping the new deal with Loblaw Companies will solidify their position in the marketplace and improve the prices they receive for their cattle.

“It’s a significant amount of shelf space for the consumer meat market in Ontario and we have the opportunity and privilege now so that we can supply that market to them,” said Dale Pallister, President of the Ontario Cattle Feeders’ Association.

Pallister, who farms near Dundalk, was among the first group of farmers to be certified for the program ten years ago.

Reducing The Risk of E. coli O157

A new market research program is set to measure value chain attitudes, behaviour and public opinion towards an on-farm E. coli O157 risk reduction program for the Ontario Corn Fed Beef brand.

The Ontario Cattle Feeders’ Association (OCFA) has been granted funding through the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program for three years of market research on the value related to reduction of this food safety risk.

The project will launch this year with a baseline attitudes study of processors, distributors and retailers. Researchers will measure their awareness, attitudes and perceptions of E. coli O157 risk, and the value of pre-harvest risk reduction. Consumers will also be surveyed on their interest and willingness to pay for the integration of such tools into the Corn Fed Beef branded program.

Growth Opportunities & Challenges

Ontario Corn Fed Beef is on the threshold of new growth opportunities as the program continues to make inroads in the market place.

Jim Clark, Executive Director of the Ontario Cattle Feeders’ Association, said various packing plants in the province are showing more interest in the farmer-owned brand.

Clark presented an update on the program to 13th annual Beef Industry Convention in London on Jan. 7. The presentation not only detailed the growth opportunities, it also identified several challenges.