At Viandes Rheintal, a quarter of beef costs around $1,100. Although this sum may seem significant, the company, which specializes in processing organic meat, is selling a lot more than before, according to owner Guylaine Buecheli. And she’s not the only one.
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Half pork, quarter beef, whole lamb. Demand for large cuts of meat has been increasing for several months, as several growers and processors have joined The presswho sell direct from the farm. Concerns about frugality and the desire to fill a chest freezer bought by many at the beginning of the pandemic may partly explain these changes in consumption patterns, they analyze.
“I sell a lot more beef and pork quarters,” confirms Mme Buecheli, whose store is located in Bécancour in the Center-du-Québec region. In the case of “large formats”, she recorded an increase in sales of between 5% and 7%. Those numbers are pretty surprising, she admits. “We’re still at the top. And you have to pay the amount right away,” she emphasizes. “In the end, however, savings have to be made,” she adds. If you buy all these parts retail, it will be more expensive. »
In Saint-Cyprien-de-Napierville, in Montérégie, Laurie-Anne Généreux, co-owner of the double farm Les Bouchées, also notes a propensity to buy “volume”. She expects to double that number of requests for carcasses in a few months. “I’m really noticing an increasing interest in buy-by-carcass, for both veal and pork and lamb. People really want to buy in bulk because the price per kilo is cheaper. »
According to her, veal tenderloin can cost $13 a kilo when buying a whole animal, compared to $50 a kilo at some butcher shops. Mme Généreux also estimates that by buying a whole pig — which sells for $850 at his farm — for a family of four that eats pork once a week on average, they will have meat in their freezer for a year.
Although it is a large sum to pay initially, Laurie-Anne Généreux makes sure her prices remain competitive with supermarkets. “Before inflation, we were a bit more expensive than in the supermarket,” she admits. We haven’t increased our prices since inflation. We produce our own hay. Apart from the slaughterhouse, there is no intermediary. This allows us to maintain a certain margin. We preferred to absorb slight inflation. »
The effects of the pandemic
Along with inflation pushing consumers to find other spending, the pandemic, which has been marked by numerous supply problems, would explain this craze for beef quarters or other whole lamb.
“During the pandemic, people lived with the fear of going out,” recalls Marie-Philippe Saint-Vincent, owner of the farm of the same name.
“People panicked a bit,” Laurie-Anne Généreux also noted. At the beginning of the pandemic, she sensed great concern from some consumers who feared food shortages.
According to the two women, many consumers who have become accustomed to buying half a beef – sometimes shared by multiple families – have continued to do so.
Many people have bought freezers during the pandemic. At some point there weren’t any more on the market.
Carole Marcoux, co-owner of Le porc de Beaurivage
At Best Buy, for example, freezer sales increased by 200% between 2019 and 2020, confirms Thierry Lopez, director of marketing. At that time, public health recommended that the population avoid many trips to the supermarket.
Now that people have more storage space, they are more likely to buy in bulk, said Ms.me Marcoux.
Also in Huntingdon, at Fermes Valens, where organic meat is produced, sales manager Judith Fouquet is noticing a new behavior from her customers, especially because of inflation. The products advertised by the company find buyers in record time. The reasonably priced pork fillets sold out in two days when supplies usually run out after a month, she says. And in the chicken coop, egg sales have gone up. “People also want to buy less expensive protein. We notice different behaviors, all related to the same case. »