Beef demand soars as consumers ‘aggressively’ stock up

Surge in sales accompanied by a jump in people looking online for recipes

Canada’s beef demand has been strong during the pandemic.

“Unlike previous disease outbreak issues, COVID-19 has not been about food safety or consumer confidence or issues with food products,” Canada Beef president Michael Young said during a recent online town hall.

“Beef demand at retail is up 50 to 70 per cent. Consumers have aggressively stocked up on groceries for home.”

Ground beef is in especially high demand, and many grocers have limited the number of packages that can be purchased at one time.

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“It’s too early to know what the impact of COVID-19 will be on retail food prices,” said Young. “What we do know is that the food supply chain is working very hard to keep shelves full.

“Current prices are a reflection of a supply and demand situation, as consumers have been stocking up on food and supplies. This is expected to be short-term as the supply chain will adjust to meet demand and the case of retail purchases normalizes.”

People are also busy searching for recipes and cooking information — with Canada Beef’s website seeing a surge in visitors.

Canadabeef.ca has seen an increase of 66 per cent total users in March, while Thinkbeef.ca had a 450 per cent increase in visits from February to March,” said Young.

A fact sheet on what the Canadian meat industry has done to protect against COVID-19 has been widely distributed here and abroad, he added.

Most of Canada’s key export markets have been experiencing similar conditions as here, with strong retail demand.

“Many of the markets are making do with dwindling supplies of imported food products, due to the impact of COVID-19 on labour availability at port facilities and transportation,” said Young.

— Alexis Kienlen reports for Alberta Farmer from Edmonton.

About the author

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Reporter

Alexis Kienlen lives in Edmonton and has been writing for the Glacier FarmMedia publication, the Alberta Farmer Express, since 2008. Originally from Saskatoon, Alexis is also the author of two collections of poetry, a biography, and a novel called "Mad Cow."

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