Canada beefs up its brand

By Wang Ru | | Updated: 2016-12-09 10:14

With its exports continuing to soar, Canada's beef industry is expanding its accesses to global markets by launching a series of brand experience events taking place across the globe, including China, one of its fastest growing markets.

Canada Beef Inc, which represents Canadian beef producers, has launched a global brand including a new logo, tagline and video for Canadian beef.

The new brand was launched in Shanghai in November. More than 200 people including government representatives, retail, foodservice, and end use partners of Canada Beef, and influential chefs and media attended the event, which was also a tasting experience featuring Canadian beef prepared in international culinary styles.

Linda Allison, chairwoman of Canada Beef, Ryan Baerg, consul and senior trade commissioner of Canada's Consulate General in Shanghai, and Oneil Carlier, Alberta's minister of agriculture and forestry, attended the event.

Canada is the world's sixth-largest beef exporter, and Alberta raises more cattle than any other province. As Canada's second-largest trading partner, China offers significant opportunities for exports. In 2015, Canadian agricultural exports to China hit $5.6 billion.

In September, Canada and China signed a protocol to expand market access for Canadian frozen bone-in beef and also advanced several key initiatives to support trade in Canadian pork, bovine genetics and some processed foods.

"Canadian beef has a strict grading system that ensures stable quality, which I think is the reason for its mounting popularity in the demanding Chinese market," said Zhu Yifan, chair of FHC China International Culinary Arts Competition.

Canadian beef regained access to the Chinese market in 2011, when the country agreed to open its borders to boneless cuts of Canadian beef from animals under 30 months old. Sales volume has been increasing since then as China's growing middle class pushes up demand for imported beef. Exports stood at 33 tons in 2015, up by 381 percent from 2014.

"China is Canada's second-largest market for beef exports," said Polly Zhao, China director of Canada Beef. "Ten percent of exported Canadian beef goes to local kitchens here. But that's less than 5 percent of market share in China, which means there is huge potential to tap into."

"In the spring, we started off our brand celebration in the heart of Canadian cattle country at our culinary centre in Calgary, Alberta, the Canadian Beef Centre of Excellence. Over the next month that celebration continued internationally," said Joyce Parslow, executive director of marketing and consumer relations at Canada Beef.

Incorporating the unique traits that make Canadian beef a memorable experience, the new tagline "We put the best of Canada into our beef" links Canada's land, hardworking people, sustainable practices and good ethics to the food itself.

"Our sincere hope is that guests walk away with a passion for Canadian beef — the story, the brand and the premium product that it is," Parslow said.

"The practices reflected in the Canadian beef brand position help earn the trust of the marketplace with the reward being demand pull," said Ron Glaser, vice-president of corporate affairs at Canada Beef. "This translates into many commercial opportunities for all partners in the value chain right through to the Canadian beef cattle farmer and rancher."

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