Milk for restaurants’ mozzarella reclassified

A new class of milk for restaurant mozzarella ”will lower costs for restaurants that prepare and cook pizzas on-site,” the federal government says. (Scott Bauer photo courtesy ARS/USDA)

A new Canadian milk class will be created in June for the mozzarella cheese used to make fresh pizzas, in a move expected to boost the mozza market and heal a longtime burn for Canada’s restaurateurs.

The federal government announced Wednesday that the Canadian Milk Supply Management Committee (CMSMC) has approved creation of the new milk class, designated 3(d), to take effect June 1.

Canada’s milk classification system maps out the prices processors pay to provincial marketing boards and agencies for milk used in the manufacturing of specific dairy products.

All types of mozzarella, including pizza mozzarella and part-skim pizza mozzarella, are today lumped into class 3(c), which covers over a dozen types of non-cheddar cheeses including Swiss, havarti and parmesan.

However, cheese used as “ingredients for further processing for the domestic and export markets,” gets a separate class, 5(a), which since 1989 has included mozzarella for uses such as in frozen pizzas.

The new class 3(d) will cover “standardized mozzarella cheeses to be used strictly on fresh pizzas by establishments registered with the (Canadian Dairy Commission) under terms and conditions approved by the CMSMC.”

The new class, the government said Wednesday, “will lower costs for restaurants that prepare and cook pizzas on-site and help grow the market segment for mozzarella cheese in Canada.”

Restaurateurs and pizzeria owners, represented by the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CRFA), have long protested that Canada’s supply-managed dairy system essentially gives makers of frozen pizzas a 30 per cent markdown on the price of mozzarella, compared to what restaurateurs have to pay for the same products.

The CRFA said in November that dairy products have thus lost ground on restaurant menus as business owners seek out “more reasonably priced products to promote to their customers.”

In the past five years, the CRFA said in November, “overall restaurant orders have increased by six per cent, but pizza orders have decreased by a stark 12 per cent.”

The CMSMC’s move is also expected to “favour the development of the market for mozzarella in the restaurant sector and benefit farmers, processors and restaurants,” the government added on Wednesday.

Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) and the CRFA have been collaborating with the CMSMC on finalizing this proposal “for a few months now,” DFC president Wally Smith said in the government’s release.

“It is the farmers’ sincerest hope that this class will bring growth in sales of cheese in the restaurant pizza category,” he said.

“This new restaurant mozzarella cheese class responds to longstanding concerns raised by CRFA on behalf of our members and fresh pizza makers across the country,” the association’s CEO Garth Whyte added in the same release.

Related stories:
Ont. cop, ex-cop charged in alleged cheese-smuggling ring, Sept. 29, 2012
Feds put up $12M for Ont. frozen pizza plant, May 25, 2012


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