by SUSAN MANN
Growing the market for Canadian cheese is one of four objectives the Canadian Dairy Commission plans to pursue during the next several years, says CEO Jacques Laforge.
One way the Commission plans to grow the Canadian cheese market is to try and expand the fresh pizza cheese class currently available for restaurants using mozzarella, called Class 3(d), to include all uses of mozzarella, he said at the annual meeting in Ottawa Jan. 21. The Commission is hopeful this can be achieved, as “we believe this would be beneficial to producers and processors in the end.”
The Commission is also looking to expand the planned export class, called Class 5(d), for export cheese.
According to the Commission’s 2013/14 annual report, Class 3(d) was launched in June 2013 to encourage restaurants’ use of mozzarella on fresh pizzas. In 2013/14 more than 6,000 restaurants had access to the class. They used seven million kilograms of butterfat and 16.5 million kgs of solids-non-fat, the equivalent of about 30 million kgs of mozzarella cheese.
In February 2014, the Commission launched the Planned Export Program for Cheese. Its aim was to support the export of up to 3,000 tonnes of cheese per dairy year. During 2013/14, 1,842 tonnes of cheese, the equivalent of about 17.2 million litres of milk, were exported through the program, the annual report said. Signed contracts for 2014/15 coming from a first call for tenders have already hit 2,635 tonnes of cheese.
The three other objectives the Commission is working on include:
- Maintaining stability and predictability in the milk production system.
- Gradually eliminating the structural surplus of solids-non-fat. Farmers generate some solids-non-fat (SNF) as part of the supply management system’s primary goal to meet domestic butterfat demand. The portion of SNF that isn’t required by the domestic market is called the ‘structural surplus.’ It’s sold mostly as skim milk powder or animal feed. In 2013/14 there was a surplus of 61,000 tonnes of skim milk powder.
- Assist the dairy industry in implementing necessary and agreed changes to grow the market and ensure the supply management system is flexible.
Laforge said to get rid of the structural surplus the Commission is working on developing niche domestic and export markets for the solids-non-fat. “We are also heavily involved in securing domestic and international investments in Canada to develop these niche markets.” BF