Ontario Agriculture

The network for agriculture in Ontario, Canada

Covering agriculture has meant I've been to a pile of meetings. Meetings on getting more profit on your farm, meetings on government regulations, meetings on just about anything you can think of in order to help you be a better farmer. One of the topics that comes up a lot for livestock producers is developing a consistent product. While this usually is directed towards beef producers today, at one time it applied to everyone. Processors and retailers say if you want a better price - they need that consistent quality. They say without it, shoppers just won't look at your product, won't even give it a chance. Well, the reality is, as farmers we do need to improve consistency of our product, but it isn't just on our shoulders. Here's why... I do a lot of my shopping at Loblaw's branded stores. There isn't any real reason for it - other than they are the closest to my house. That means there is a lot of President's Choice product available. I don't buy a lot of meat from the grocery store, but now and again I will buy chicken. This time it was boneless skinless chicken breasts for a pasta dish I was trying out. When I got to opening that chicken I found it was far from boneless. (I've attached the picture of what I found underneath the breast) Needless to say I wasn't happy about having an extra step in my meal preparation. It did get me thinking though. If I was a consumer with no experience in cutting meat, and came across this unsightly scene - would I buy chicken more or less? I'm honestly worried about what their response is - because if they decide to eat less chicken, the poultry industry has lost a bit of their market - and it was completely out of their control. I'm not writing this to bash one particular brand. This is merely to point out that when retailers and processors say it's up to farmers to produce a better product, ask them what they are doing to bring in new customers and keep the ones they've got. In the words of Red Green - 'we're all in this together'.

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Comment by Wayne Black on September 7, 2009 at 8:10pm
A similar situation is when we buy milk and it is soured long before the expiry (two days in our fridge). The first question from the brand manufacturer was "is your fridge the correct temperature?" So they mail some fridge thermometers. No power outage, using the same fridge since it was new (I think it was two or three years old at the time), and never had milk sour before its expiry before or since - uhm - did the retailer check their fridge?
I run across this usually at a restaurant when buying the 250 or 500 mL cartons. It is pretty sick when sludge pours out of your milk carton. If I was not involved in a dairy farm - probably would not buy milk again from that processor (funny how it is the same processor each time?!)
Wayne

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