by SUSAN MANN
Farmers are committed to supplying the Ontario Corn Fed Beef market and customers like it, so Loblaws Companies Limited announced Friday it’s putting the product in 46 additional stores.
That brings the total number of Loblaws stores carrying the product to 200, the company says in a press release.
Ontario Cattlemen’s Association communications manager LeaAnne Hodgins says it’s positive news for the organization. “We strongly support the Ontario Corn Fed Beef brand so it’s good news there’s more stores seeking the opportunity to have local product within their stores.”
The program involves 500 Ontario beef farmers. With the increase in the number of Loblaws stores selling Ontario Corn Fed Beef, Hodgins says “they’ll be looking at more beef” so the Ontario Cattle Feeders’ Association will be looking for more farmers to get signed up for the program.
Jim Clark, association executive director, says Ontario is still a net importer of beef “so this allows our producers to control that counter space with their brand.”
Clark says Loblaws has shown leadership by “taking this bold step.” The program is working because consumers support locally produced product and are looking for it.
In January during the province’s beef industry convention in London, Brad Porter, Loblaw senior category director meat and seafood conventional banners, explained the goal of the expansion was to eventually make the beef the chain’s everyday beef brand in the province.
Ontario is Canada’s second largest beef producing province. The provincial cattle and beef sector supports more than 11,000 jobs and contributes about $4 billion to the provincial economy. BF