All about Canada's red meat industry...
Canada's red meat and meat products industry includes beef, pork, lamb, meat goats, rabbits, as well as venison and bison. With annual shipments worth $24.2 billion in 2011, it is the largest sector of the Canadian food manufacturing industry.
Canada's meat processing companies make a wide variety of meat products ranging from fresh or frozen meat to processed, smoked, canned and cooked meats, as well as sausage and deli meats. About 70% of processed meats in Canada, such as sausages or cold cuts, are made with pork.
The wholesomeness and consistent safety of Canadian red meat and meat products is well established in many countries. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) works with the industry to maintain and enhance this reputation. The CFIA inspects imports and federally registered establishments that produce processed meats and ready-to-eat products to verify compliance with food safety regulations.
Size of the industry:
By 2012, there were:
- 12.52 million cattle and calves, up 0.5% from the previous year, on 95,105 Canadian farms and ranches. Alberta accounts for approximately 40% of this inventory. Farm cash receipts from the sale of cattle and calves in 2011 totalled $6.5 billion, 13% of total farm receipts.
- 12.02 million hogs, up 1.1% from the previous year, on approximately 6,820 farms. Farm cash receipts from the sale of slaughter hogs in 2011 totalled $3.9 billion, 8% of total farm receipts.
- 828,600 sheep and lambs on approximately 12,000 farms. Canadian sheep production is mostly located in Ontario, Quebec and Alberta (73%). Farm cash receipts for sheep and lambs in 2011 totalled $161 million, 0.3% of total farm receipts.
- 73,500 head of Canadian farmed raised cervids (deer and elk) on about 1,385 farms. Elk are primarily farmed in the west and red deer in the eastern provinces. Fallow deer, white-tailed deer and other cervid species are found throughout Canada.
- 180,000 bison on about 1,750 farms in Canada. Bison production is primarily concentrated in the west at 85-90%.
- Canada's beef exports decreased about 17% from 2010 to 336,954 tonnes in 2011. Sales to the United States decreased 19%, while exports to Mexico decreased 28%. Exports of beef and beef products to all countries are estimated at $1.33 billion.
- In 2011, 21.1 million pigs went to market in Canadian plants, a decrease of 0.1% over 2010. In addition, 912,000 head went to processing facilities in the United States and 4.8 million head of isowean/weaner/feeder hogs went for feeding and finishing on United States farms. Live hog exports increased 1.1% over 2010.
- Pork exports increased in 2011 to 1,151,279 tonnes, up 5% from 2010. Sales to the United States decreased 7% to 313,215 tonnes, while sales to Japan decreased 2.7% to 219,093 tonnes. Exports of pork and pork products to all countries are estimated at $3.2 billion in 2011.
- Processed pork sales totalled an estimated 64,014 tonnes in 2011 with the United States being the dominant purchaser (64%).
In addition to its red meat exports, Canada can provide halal-certified, kosher and organic meat and products, as well as game meat such as venison and bison.
...want more information?
For more detailed information, contact:
Red Meat Section - Animal Industry Division
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
1341 Baseline Road, Tower 5, 2nd floor
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0C5
Web site: Red Meat Market Information