Why Canadians are walking away from the meat counter

Meat is a luxury in most countries and itís becoming one in Canada. The good news? Canadians can deal


By Sylvain Charlebois, Troy Media (Canada)

September 8, 2021


Charlebois is senior director of the agri-food analytics lab and a professor in food distribution and policy at Dalhousie University.


The cost of living has understandably been one of the current federal electionís top issues. Most major parties have included proposed measures to help Canadians, especially those with less means.


However, recent data suggest consumers are taking matters into their own hands to save a few bucks.


Meat represents a big portion of anyoneís food budget, roughly 20 per cent on average. If saving money at the grocery store is a priority for someone, cutting meat is an easy target.


Recent retail sales data suggest that Canadian consumers are already hedging against food inflation at the grocery store. According to some sources, meat sales have dropped significantly this year, especially in the last 12 weeks. And barbecue season is normally the most lucrative period of the year for the meat trifecta of beef, chicken and pork.


Across the nation, beef sales in volume at grocery stores have dropped by more than six per cent since May. Even in Alberta, cattle country, beef sales have dropped by more than six per cent.


Itís even worse for chicken and pork. Sales in volume for chicken dropped by more than 12 per cent and pork by 17 per cent. In Ontario alone, pork sales dropped 20 per cent this summer...