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Marketing pork to Canadian consumers

Nova Scotia pork producers discuss label claims

By Nicholas Van Allen

Jane Morrigan of Integrity Livestock Services recently highlighted the latest research on hog raising and consumer behaviour – with an eye to perceptions of humane handing and animal welfare – and how eastern Canadian pork producers might take advantage of this knowledge in their farming and marketing practices.

Canadian producers are at the forefront of such farming methods and have made great strides in improving our codes of practice, ahead of overseas pork producers, Morrigan noted at the Pork Nova Scotia annual general meeting in late June. 

It is clear that both sides – producers and consumers – “recognize the power of the consumer,” she said.

What needs to be done is to inform the Canadian consumers about producer’s efforts.

Label claims should be on the pork packages directly so that buyers can choose items from producers who are conscious of humane handling and animal welfare systems, Morrigan said.

Jane Morrigan

“They (buyers) want to feel good about the purchase of meat they are making … (This) is more of an issue than the price is.”

Consumers, “want a clear conscience,” she said.

Members of the audience pointed out many farmers know that “when you treat an animal badly, he’s not going to be profitable for you.” In other words, animal welfare has been top of mind for Canadian producers for some time.

But Morrigan identified that farmers just need to show through label claims that they, like the consumer, share the same values. Consumers need to be educated about the ethics and values of pork farmers so that they feel comfortable with their purchases, she said.