Écolait introduces new Vivo veal products

Canadians are eating less veal, but Quebecers are still avid fans of the meat

After spending last year diversifying its roster of grain-fed veal products, Quebec-based Écolait is adding seven new products to its line of Vivo milk-fed veal.

The additions include a loin chop, hotel-style chop, cubes, cutlets, tenderloin, liver and Osso Bucco. The products are exclusively available at approximately 250 IGA stores throughout the province.

“Écolait’s initiative is proof of the dynamism of the production industry,” said company president Mario Maillet in a release. “Écolait and its associate producers make every effort to deliver top-quality meats, all while respecting the animals and the environment."

Quebecers are the country’s most avid consumers of veal, said André Michaud, president of Agro Québec, which works with producers on public affairs, business development and other issues.

Agro Québec has worked with Écolait for the past two years, while its other clients include the greenhouse tomato brand Savoura and the sweet peppers brand Vog.

The average Quebecer eats approximately two kilograms of veal each year, according to Michaud. That is nearly double the approximately 950 grams per person across Canadians , according to the most recent statistics from Agriculture and Agri-food Canada.

Canadian veal consumption has declined steadily over the past three decades, falling from a high of 1.7 kilograms in 1985. It is not alone, however, with per capita consumption of beef and pork also falling during that period. The only meat to experience significant gains during that time is chicken, which has seen per-capita consumption skyrocket from 16.88 kg in 1980 to 30.94 kg in 2014.

The extension of the Vivo brand is linked with IGA’s “The Joy of Eating Better” initiative, which aims to help Quebecers cook differently and more often, while discovering new local and international flavours and eating healthier.

The new Vivo cuts are packed in airtight packaging that Michaud said preserves veal’s delicate pink colour. “Usually it’s a big problem to preserve veal in the supermarket,” he said. “It can usually stay in the store for a maximum of four days . It’s a great solution for a distributor like IGA.”

Last year, Écolait introduced a veal bacon product that was part of a   strategy to diversify its retail offerings, particularly in the grain-fed veal category. The new product quickly sold its first 5,000 cases.

The company has been working with Edelweiss Food Products, a Laval, Que.-based company that specializes in European-style deli and prepared meats, to develop new veal products.

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