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09/18/2016

Let them eat Canadian chicken

Where and how our food is produced is increasingly important to today’s consumers.
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How can you assure your customers that the chicken you’re selling is safe, of the highest quality and is homegrown? It’s simple; let them know that it’s “Raised by a Canadian Farmer”.

The Raised by a Canadian Farmer branding program has been developed by Chicken Farmers of Canada (CFC) and features a label which is now appearing on retail packages and restaurant menus throughout Canada. It helps consumers easily identify that the chicken they are purchasing has been raised in Canada to the highest standards of quality and safety.

“Consumers want to know where their food comes from,” says Lisa Bishop-Spencer, CFC’s Manager of Communications. Citing Leger Marketing research, Bishop-Spencer says 87% of Canadian primary shoppers think it’s important that the chicken they buy is raised in Canada, and the bulk of Canadians (88%) would likely buy chicken if it had a label showing it is Canadian made. Finally, the survey revealed that most Canadians (77%) would trust the chicken label if it came directly from a farmers group, rather than a manufacturer or retailer.

So what’s so special about Canadian chicken? For starters, consumers’ appetite for locally produced products continues to grow and Canadian raised chicken answers this demand. Produced year-round on 2,700 farms in every province across the country, Canadian chicken is always readily available.

Canadian chicken is also a top-notch product and a healthy choice for consumers — it’s grain fed, free of added hormones and steroids (they’ve been banned in Canada since the ‘60s!) and it is raised by responsible farmers that adhere to strict, nationally set food safety and animal care standards.

“Our mandatory On-Farm Food Safety Program (OFFSAP) is the national standard for chicken producers in Canada and the first program of its kind to receive full federal, provincial and territorial government recognition,” says Bishop-Spencer. As a result of OFFSAP, she adds, CFC became the first commodity organization to receive full recognition for the program by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

Raising chickens humanely is as important to chicken farmers as it is to consumers. To ensure high animal care standards are maintained on chicken farms, CFC created a mandatory and auditable Animal Care Program. “After all, it’s in the best interest of all industry members to see that the birds are raised in the best way possible,” says Bishop-Spencer.

To get the word out, CFC is supporting the Raised by a Canadian Farmer program with an assertive, national marketing campaign on both digital and traditional platforms. Feedback from participants has been very positive. Additionally, CFC offers a grocery store app designed to engage consumers by letting them create shopping lists, search for recipes and nutritional information.

Bishop-Spencer says CFC has received an enthusiastic response from retailers who have already discovered the program. “We encourage more retailers to join the Raised by a Canadian Farmer program (it’s free!) and start using the branding in their advertising and on their packaging.”

It’s about letting your consumers know that you work with farmers to deliver for quality, local chicken that Canadians can trust.