The Canadian Centre for Food Integrity (CCFI) has just released its 2018 Public Trust Research. For the third year in a row, the rising cost of food tops the list of concerns for Canadians, beating out health care, energy and the economy.
It has been suggested that meat prices are expected to decline for consumers in 2019; however, price should not be the key factor when choosing local, delicious, nutritious meat. Hog prices fell to a two-decade low earlier this year, which has caused hardship for many producers. But on the bright side, a new Canadian Clinicians for Therapeutic Nutrition report is backing whole-food strategies over Health Canada’s recommended preference for plant-based diets, and this is encouraging for the majority of Canadians who eat meat regularly.
Owing to a lack of accurate information on animal-based protein, stemming from the Government of Canada, some consumers are starting to feel the pressure of unfair fear tactics discouraging meat consumption. Healthy diets in Canada have long included a wide range of foods, and it’s difficult to see how abandoning a significant portion of these foods will help anyone in the short or long term.
Despite the suggestion that dietary changes are largely responsible for declining meat prices, the claim remains quite unsubstantiated. While some of the price decline evidence may point toward changing diets in our country, the Canadian Meat Council recently responded, demonstrating how at least part of the trend has more to do with increased supply and market factors unaffected by consumer choice.
For our food sector to remain sustainable, it’s important to remember that affordable food does not always equal fair value for everyone. Producers, processors, retailers and consumers need to work together to pursue mutually beneficial strategies for getting food from farm to fork. At present, this model is a bit off-balance when one compares how producers struggle desperately in some cases, while others in the chain continue to reap rewards.
Here’s to a 2019 of fair-priced, sustainable food for those who will continue to eat a balanced diet, along with a better outlook for our producers!