Through the CPP, BFO will consider a 50 per cent cost-share investment with Ontario beef farmers, processors, retailers, distributors, industry associations and supply chain partners in projects that demonstrate alignment with the three strategic objectives identified within BFO’s RMI.
- Artisan Farms Direct – brand development
- Enright Cattle Company – video development
- Local Food Farm Co-op – brand and supply chain development
- Norwich Packers - brand development
- Penokean Hills - new business opportunities (Restaurant Canada Show)
- Ryding Regency - brand development
- Artisan Farms Direct - new business opportunities (Restaurant Canada Show)
- Enright Cattle Company - new business opportunities (Restaurant Canada Show)
- Flanagan Foodservice - brand development
CPP Highlight - Flanagan Foodservice
Flanagan Foodservice is the largest Canadian owned distributor in the country. Since 1977, Flanagan’s has provided full service to more than 6,000 restaurants and foodservice operations across the province of Ontario, with distribution centres in Kitchener, Whitby and Sudbury.
With CPP support, Flanagan’s developed their own Ontario beef brand, Carve Premium Ontario Beef, which has exceeded expectations since its launch in the spring of 2017.
At that time, Flanagan’s estimated that sales could reach $1.8 million in the first year. As of March 26th, 2018 Carve sales totalled over $2.4 million with 11,188 cases invoiced to their customers. Currently, Flanagan’s has 556 Carve customers, with 18 Carve items currently available for purchase and plans to add more.
Based on first year volumes, the brand has already generated increased demand for an additional 1,800 head of certified Ontario cattle. This volume has displaced product from Western Canada.
Increasing the Value of the Ontario Beef Carcass
To provide beef farmers with a greater understanding of beef carcass quality, BFO has begun the initial stages of developing a video that will provide farmers with a more thorough understanding of how on-farm management practices and genetic selection can impact the quality and value of their beef carcasses. The knowledge gained through this video will enable beef farmers to make better decisions on-farm and help them better communicate the value of their beef throughout the value-chain, including with processors and consumers. Ultimately, we want to motivate Ontario beef farmers to continue to raise and produce high-quality Ontario beef that appeals to consumers, while providing them with adequate returns to maintain a healthy farm business.
External funding has been secured for this project.
Validating Ontario Beef Terroir
In 2017, BFO and the Ontario Independent Meat Processors (OIMP) invested in a research project to determine if beef produced in Ontario can be scientifically differentiated from beef produced in another province or country.
Oritain, an analytical company and global leader in scientific traceability, was contracted for a proof of concept research project to determine if their technology can be used to successfully differentiate Ontario beef from imported beef. Through the project, we gathered 236 beef samples (representing 95 farms) from Ontario provincial abattoirs and farmers. Upon review of all data, Oritain reports that the current dataset is suitable for ongoing origin verification of Ontario beef.
BFO is currently investigating next steps for this initiative, which would include gathering additional beef samples followed by a market audit, conducted by Oritain, to test the viability of the fingerprint.
Ontario Beef Brand Development - Consumer Research
BFO’s second consumer research survey with Hill+Knowlton was completed in early July. This survey focused heavily on message development and supporting facts surrounding the following four themes:
- Local communities, families and culture
- Environmental sustainability
- Animal care
- Wholesome, healthy and delicious beef
Results from the survey are currently being analyzed and compiled. The conclusion of the research project will wrap up with two final focus groups scheduled for early August in Toronto.
Once the research project is complete, BFO will begin a request for proposal process to secure a marketing firm, specializing in urban communications, to assist in brand development and a refreshed Ontario beef brand launch.
Environmental Stewardship Video
The Environmental Stewardship Award recognizes farmers who have demonstrated exceptional dedication to farming in an environmentally sustainable way. Farmers’ impact on the environment is becoming even more important in the eyes of consumers and the general public. Demonstrating and communicating how beef farming and pasturelands sequester carbon and provide habitat for wildlife, as well as farmers’ commitment to protecting important waterways, needs to be shared broadly. Sandra Vos, recipient of the 2018 Environmental Stewardship Award will be the first to appear in a video that BFO will use to engage with consumers online and through social media to address environmental sustainability on beef farms in Ontario.
Recipe and Video Development
BFO as begun working with Real Food Creative to develop eight new beef recipes and videos for use online and through social media. The recipes will focus on the following four concepts:
- 30-minute meals
- Protein-packed snacks
- Meals for a gathering
- Ethnic diversity
Expected completion: Fall, 2018.
Social Media Engagement
In addition to existing Twitter and Pinterest accounts, BFO launched a consumer-focused Instagram account in May. Staff have developed a social media strategy and content calendar to maximize and track engagement and growth across all social media channels.
Wondering About Beef Production
Several years ago, BFO, in partnership with the Alberta Beef Producers, began the development of an educational series of science-based information for consumers on important issues like animal care, environmental impact and beef animal nutrition. Over the years, our library of resources has expanded to cover various topics, including: Wondering About Animal Care, Wondering About What Beef Cattle Eat, Wondering About Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Wondering About Hormones in Beef, Wondering About Antibiotic Use and Resistance in Cattle, and our new resource, Wondering About Beef in Your Diet. The resources are currently available in two formats - online PDF and hard copy. While the resources have been well received, we believe the information has greater potential for impact if the information could be shared in a digital format. Through our own research with Hill+Knowlton and additional research through the Canadian Centre for Food Integrity and the Ontario Federation of Agriculture’s research on food literacy, we know that the millennial generation is most interested in absorbing information in a digital format. Therefore, we have begun the creation of a consumer-appealing, animated educational Ontario beef video series transforming our existing “Wondering About” resources into a digital literacy campaign targeting the millennial generation.
Consumer and Media Engagement
BFO will be participating in four upcoming events:
- August - Petals & Plates, hosted by Flowers Canada (Ontario) Inc., Delhi
- September - Breakfast on the Farm, hosted by Farm & Food Care, Foster Feedlot, North Gower
- September - Registered Dietician Tour, hosted by Farm & Food Care, Schaus Feedlot, Alliston
- October - Registered Dietician Tour, hosted by Farm & Food Care, Sheard Feedlot, Brampton
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