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Canadian Chicken – The Stable Choice for Consumers

Aline Porrior

2016 has just begun and there is one particular item troubling the minds of Canadians: the sharp rise in the price of food.

Wallets across the country have been feeling the effects of these high prices – in fact, analysts are estimating an additional $345 will be added to your family’s grocery bill in 2016.

Wondering how to save money on your weekly grocery bills while still being able to buy nutritious foods? This is where chicken comes in.

The Globe and Mail recently published an interesting article, outlining the surge in food prices from 2011 to 2015. While prices are dramatically rising for produce and other meats, the price of chicken has remained relatively stable. For example, the article states that between 2011 and 2015, the price of chicken rose by 13%.  In the case of beef, the price rose by 38%, and pork rose by 27%.  Even some produce items, like apples, rose by 26% and celery increased by almost 53%.

Chicken owes its stability to supply management, a uniquely Canadian system that bases itself on three pillars: production planning, producer pricing, and import controls.

As we discussed in our Gate to Plate post, farmers meet regularly to determine how much chicken to produce in order to meet consumer demand throughout the year. As a result, Canadians are always supplied with fresh, quality, home-grown chicken at their local grocery store for a stable price.

It’s important to remember the prices consumers pay at the store are set by retailers. In fact, farmers only get to negotiate the price they receive for their chickens as they leave the farm.

Farmers only receive $1.58 per kg – that’s not much, and it mainly covers the cost of feed and chicks.

What is interesting to note is that the live price has been steadily declining. In the same timeframe discussed above (2011 to 2015), the price farmers receive for their chickens has declined by 2.4%.

Farmers often get the blame for the rising prices we pay at the grocery store. With consumers paying more and chicken farmers getting less, it’s clear that there’s no connection.

Source: The Globe and Mail