As barbecue season simmers down, the cost of meat is still rising across Canada, even as year-to-year demand wanes.
Several culprits are pushing the upward-trending price tags, food distribution professor Sylvain Charlebois told Global News on Friday.
“We’re slowly reaching the spook zone at the meat counter,” said Charlebois, who also serves as the director of Dalhousie University’s Agri-Food Analytics Lab.
“In fact, we’re starting to see numbers that suggest that Canadians are absolutely walking away from the meat counter,” he said.
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In terms of volume, beef sales are down six per cent from last year’s figures, and chicken and pork are down 12 and 17 per cent, respectively, Charlebois said, so much so he initially wondered whether software was erring.
Canadians are shying away from the meat counter likely because of higher prices, he said, but also because of a rise in plant protein options.
“People are more tempted to go for lentils or chickpeas, which are most likely much cheaper than beef, pork or chicken right now,” Charlebois said.
Chicken prices remain the most stable, with increases of only around one to two per cent, he said. However, beef prices are up nine to 10 per cent, depending on the cut, with pork up about five per cent.
Drought is leaving its mark on the market, Charlebois said.
“The last 12 weeks for livestock has