Protection, prosperity, peace of mind: Why Canada Pork fits today's world

Date posted: January 12, 2022

Trevor Sears

Trevor Sears

The 50th anniversary Banff Pork Seminar (BPS) kicked off with a look at the big picture for the Canadian pork sector. Trevor Sears, President and CEO of Canada Pork, provided context and perspective with his presentation on the foundations, emerging issues and opportunities facing Canadian pork producers today.

Sears began with a deep dive on the pork industry's roots in Canada – going back to approximately the early 1600's when the first pigs were shipped over from Europe to Nova Scotia. Understanding all of the factors that influenced the growth and evolution of the pork industry over 400 years also provides valuable context when reviewing the current situation.

The emerging issues that promise to come up again and again at BPS this week include:

The looming threat of African Swine Fever. Critical on the preparedness front. Canada Pork is working on the plan and trade agreements to mitigate risk

Global market access challenges. Canada is very heavily dependent on export markets and therefore vulnerable to political and economic drivers globally

Global supply chain and labour issues. This is an ongoing issue throughout agriculture

COVID. Building trust at home and around the world in Canadian pork supply and quality

With challenges comes opportunity says Sears and Canada Pork is working hard to capitalize on them. Building a strong brand for Canadian pork continues to be a priority. While the results of this can be seen globally – for example, Costco Japan has gone exclusively to chilled Canadian pork – Canada Pork is also seeing progress in promoting the product at home.

"This is important because if there were ever a disease outbreak, strong domestic demand will help to mitigate the risk of possible lost export markets," says Sears.

In order to respond to a changing consumer landscape, Canada Pork is involved in generic promotion and research that covers a wide range of areas such as consumer education around cooking and preparation, as well as nutrition and health research.

Finally there continues to be increasing market access opportunities and this is a primary focus for Sears and the association. As economies grow and evolve, more people around the world can afford meat and poultry in their daily diets. "We are always working on new market access agreements, especially in Asia and South America," he says.

However competition from other protein sources (beef and poultry) and other countries remains fierce. "I think it is really crucial that we continue efforts to maintain and grow demand for Canadian pork products."

The majority of Canadian pork is still sold to export markets so a significant disruption in trade would trigger a major economic impact on the industry. Canada Pork is doing essential work to mitigate that risk and be prepared as possible.

Finally Sears wrapped up on a positive note saying that "our high Canadian standards provide protection, prosperity and peace of mind. These standards offer global pork buyers peace of mind knowing they are sourcing some of the highest quality pork in the world from one of the most secure supply chains anywhere."

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