Category Archives: News

Canadians Clamouring for Cheese


The term “black market” calls to mind “the” illicit, difficult to procure and illegal. It might surprise you to learn of an underground audience for one of Canada’s favourite foods – cheese! Cheese has long been targeted by shoplifters for personal or resale use, and lately, that theft has scaled.

Thieves wanting a bit more “cheddar” recently concocted an elaborate scam on one of Canada’s leading cheese companies. The carefully orchestrated theft took place on the morning of August 9th, 2019, when an individual arrived at the Saputo Dairy Products facility in Tavistock, Ontario and presented fraudulent shipping paperwork. Over $187,000 worth of Canadian cheese was loaded onto a transport truck believed to be headed to New Brunswick. The goods never arrived. Investigators encouraged business owners to be vigilant and report any instances of back-alley cheese dealing.

Cheese is big business in Canada — trends show an increase in cheese production: 509.92 kg in 2018 up from 497.28 in 2017, and consumption– from 13.87 kg in 2017 to 14.65 kg in 2018. Retail sales continue to see positive trends in this industry. 

In 2017, two companies were responsible for over 45% of the Candian Cheese market — Montreal’s Saputo Inc and the American-based Kraft Heinz Company.  However, in 2018 Canadian-based Parmalat successfully negotiated a deal to secure Kraft’s Canadian natural cheese business.  In doing so, Parmalat is able to both secure jobs and farm revenue — adding 400 employees to their current payroll of 3,000 and taking ownership of a production facility located in Ingleside, Ontario. This sale increases the market share of Canadian-based cheese producers operating domestically and helps to ensure that Canadian Dairy producers continue to supply milk for this production.

The major question is what impact the United States Mexico Canada Agreement will have on Canada’s cheese industry.  In 2018, Canada exported 9.45 million kgs of cheese with an estimated export value of $64 million CAD. However impressive this statistic, the industry currently operates at a massive trade deficit with 31.5 million kgs being imported primarily from Italy, France and the United States. This is despite imposed tariffs on imported cheeses under Canada’s supply management system.

Whether imported, exported, shoplifted or purchased illicitly it is clear that the demand for cheese is substantial. This suggests that there are opportunities to further increase the marketing and exporting of Canadian-produced cheese. 

To learn more about Canadian Dairy, check out our other blog articles here.

Dairy Farmers of Canada gets Recognition for Sustainable Practices

Sustainability is on everyone’s lips these days, as environmental concerns grow in an increasingly conscious nation. So when the Dairy Farmers of Canada received international recognition from Unilever for its sustainability practices, we felt it deserved special praise. 

In 2010, Unilever launched the Sustainable Agriculture Code, which has become a major tool in sustainable sourcing programs. The code is basically a collection of practices that help codify important parts of sustainable farming practices. Unilever works with farmers and suppliers to improve international standards for food across the globe. 

The Dairy Farmers of Canada was awarded the equivalency of the Unilever’s Sustainable Agriculture Code after careful examination between the code and the ways dairy is produced in Canada with consideration to environmental regulations and labour laws and the national supply management system, as well as the commitments made and being carried out through proAction®, DFC’s robust quality assurance program. 

A few ways the Dairy Farmers of Canada contribute to making dairy production a healthy, sustainable practice, include their commitment to incredible animal care and a heightened awareness of the environmental impact. In fact, last year Canadian Dairy was able to reduce its carbon impact to 0.92kg of CO2 per litre, which is one of the lowest in the world.

Canadian Dairy is Committed to a Sustainable Future

In the last few years, the Dairy Farmers of Canada have made significant efforts to better communicate what this industry is about and the priorities and values it shares. In order to create a sustainable, healthy future for dairy here in Canada, the dairy industry has focused on two important factors: animal care and environmental impact. 

Animal Care

Number one is incredible animal care. Not only do healthy, happy animals make the best milk – it’s simply the right thing to do. That knowledge and commitment, then, shifts a neutral or negative perspective towards the dairy industry, into a positive one for potential customers and future generations. 

The Dairy Farmers Association of Canada invests a lot of time and research into ensuring animal care is up to par or exceeds that standard. All farmers in Canada have access to the genomic data for each cow’s history, which allows them to monitor and care for the animals’ health and welfare. 

The Dairy Farmers of Canada and National Farm Animal Care Council adhere to a set of standards and measurable goals called proAction, one of which is a “constant dedication to improving our methods” and commitment to quality of care for our animals. 

Environmental Impact

Many farms are passed down through generations in Canada, so there’s an understanding that the land they occupy isn’t theirs alone. It is the farmer’s duty to safeguard it for the future. As environmental concerns come to a head in 2019, farmers are working more than ever to ensure they do what is necessary to help reduce their carbon footprint. Canadian farmers use supply management to meet the demands of the Canadian market, ensuring minimal waste and a level of production that meets the demand, not exceeding it. Through careful analysis and research, Canadian dairy farmers have lowered the industry’s carbon impact to 0.92kg of CO2 per litre – which is one of the lowest in the world.

Adherence to these regulations and continued efforts to reduce impact and improve animal care will propel the dairy industry into a sustainable future for generations to come.

women feeding cows in country side

Niche Dairy Demands

Last year, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency said they’d be reviewing the Canadian definition of “vodka,” which – initially required it be made from grain or potatoes. That change happened last week.

This may provide a good opportunity for Candian Dairy to get out from behind declining milk sales. Omid McDonald’s milk-based alcoholic beverage “Vodkow” has been in the works since November, but made it on LCBO shelves a few weeks ago.

Milk-based vodka looks like any normal vodka, but is made from milk permeate – the stuff leftover after fats and proteins are removed for products like butter and cheese. Most companies throw it away.

It’s also lactose free.

Brands like Black Cow and Bertha’s Revenge have been around for a while, but Vodkow is the first Canadian brand to hit the market. As consumer concerns for dietary restrictions and sustainable living continue to grow, exploring opportunities such as this niche market could really benefit Canadian Dairy.



5 Bottles You Didn’t Know Had Milk in Them

Millennials are Changing the Way We Consume

Category : News

In North America, plant-based diets continue to climb as animal products lose popularity – but this doesn’t mean the end of dairy: instead, it demands a shift in the way we approach consumers.  Over 65% of North American consumers are looking for what can be called “better-for-me” items. These include products that are better for the environment, animals, farmers or workers.

The three main reasons people are swerving meat and dairy:

  1. Animal Cruelty
  2. Going Green
  3. Health

With the two biggest reasons circling around environmental and ethical concerns, more and more suppliers are seeing a disparity between industry standards and consumer standards. That means farmers and grocers need to step up. Buzz words like grass-fed, free-range and organic aren’t just for the elite: Millenials are changing the way we eat by prioritizing what they put in their bodies, and how it gets there, despite having lower incomes and less money to spend on eating “right.”  

According to the Organic Trade Association, 52% of organic consumers are millennials. A staggering 40% of millennials are reportedly taking on a plant-based diet. These numbers shouldn’t come as a surprise: generation x, y, and z are better informed and more educated than their parents. According to a report by Winsight Grocery Business, we’re witnessing “a shift toward a flexitarian diet, or a mostly plant-based diet,” because people are starting to care about where their food comes from. In order to keep consumers interested in dairy products, we need to consider the values of our consumers and cater to those needs. It’s time we see a big shift towards ethical and environmentally sustainable production.


Corporate Responsibility to Waste Free Grocery

Category : News

Canada has been talking about waste-free systems for some time –  but 2019 might actually see impactful change. This year, several huge brands like Proctor & Gamble, Häagen-Dazs and Nestle are repackaging food and grocery items from toothbrushes to ice cream with environmental sustainability in mind. Single use plastic is out. Reusable is in – and can be ordered from certain retailers e-commerce sites. In store purchases are expected to follow shortly after.

But it’s not just big brands in the food industry who are committed to waste free ethics. Nada Grocery is a carefully designed supply chain who boasts “we’re just food, no packaging.” Their concept sells hundreds of food products without single use packaging – instead displaying things from eggs to rice to spices in large barrels and vats, where you can buy whatever amount you need. Customers bring their own reusable containers and cloth or cardboard packaging. Other brands following this model include Soap Dispensary, Tare, Bulk Basket, Nu Grocery and Bare Market.

Other brands are opting for penalty and reward systems much like the Beer Store. Higher deposits encourage consumers to return packaging so it can be reused.

In an increasingly environmentally conscious world, behaviours like these are overdue, but a good start nonetheless.

grocery trends 2019

6 Trends in Grocery That Will Have The Biggest Impact in 2019

Category : News

Last year, the grocery space was faced with a number of disruptions that are changing the way consumers think and participate in the industry. With so many complex changes, it’s important to pay attention to these 2019 upcoming trends.

1. Rising prices
A Dalhousie study found the average Canadian household will spend $411 more in 2019 than in 2018, as food prices are projected to rise between 1.5 and 3.5 per cent. Dairy is projected to rise up to 2 per cent, following the USMCA deal that was passed in November. While costs may increase within the first half of the year, projections show dairy prices may start to improve by the second half.

2. E-commerce expansion
Consumers want convenience, and e-commerce speaks directly to that. Grocery e-commerce is growing prominently – just look at Amazon acquiring Whole Foods late last year. Traditional brick-and-mortar retailers are teaming up with third-party companies to help grow their online reach and convenience factor to consumers, while retailers who’ve built a name online are expanding into brick-and-mortar spaces.

3. Higher demand for delivery
Increasing the delivery options means an overhaul in the way retailers dev6 Trends in Grocery That Will Have The Biggest Impact in 2019elop their infrastructure. As consumers shift their shopping habits to reflect the need for convenience, distributors and retailers will have to adapt by expanding to include prepared foods, complete meals, and meal kits. Monthly grocery subscription boxes are also expected to rise in popularity this year, giving traditional grocers even more to consider.

4. Health trends and natural wellness
As more people are looking for functional foods to fill specific dietary needs, naturally derived wellness additives will continue to grow. Functional foods are a top health trend for 2019, especially in the dairy sector; we’ve already seen a rise in popularity of probiotic dairy, fermented dairy, and lactose-free dairy in 2018, so expect this to continue this year.

5. Diet trends
In the same vein, dietary restrictions are on the rise. A Nielsen study shows the number of people following specific diet plans has increased from 29 per cent in 2016 to 37 per cent in 2018. People are recognizing a trip to the grocery store is just as important as a trip to the gym, and as more consumers are looking to minimize their lactose and gluten intake, products on the shelves will have to reflect this.

6. Ethical buying
According to the same Nielsen study, 63 per cent of global consumers prefer to buy goods and services from companies that employ good ethics and stand for a purpose that aligns with their personal ethos. Consumers are hyper-aware of how their food is sourced and the path it takes to get from farm to table, and studies show companies that have forward-thinking social values and sustainability and environmental practices are more likely to attract shoppers. Especially on the heel of the USMCA deal, Canadian consumers are looking to support their local dairy farmers now more than ever.



fairlife milk Comes To Canada

Category : News

Coca-Cola and fairlife, LLC are excited to bring fairlife ultrafiltered, lactose free milk to Canada!

Coca-Cola announced in June of this year that fairlife would be expanding to the international market for the first time, giving Canadians the first chance at trying the product outside of the US. Coca-Cola is investing $85 million to build a new production facility in Peterborough, Ontario.

Aside from its high quality and rich, creamy taste, fairlife ultrafiltered, lactose free milk is free of artificial growth hormones and has 50% more protein and 50% less sugar than other milk products.

“Introducing fairlife to the Canadian market presents a great opportunity to showcase Ontario dairy farmers’ high-quality milk and animal care practices, which pair well with the premium standards and passion for quality fairlife is known for,” says Graham Lloyd, DFO’s general manager and chief executive officer. “This new initiative will provide significant economic benefits for farmers and the Peterborough community, further showing Canada’s dairy system continues to contribute to the Canadian economy by attracting millions of dollars in processor investments and offering continued and stable growth.”

DairyCentral is proud to be one of the sole distributors of fairlife ultrafiltered, lactose-free milk for the Independent Grocery Marketing in the Greater Toronto region.


The Key Things You Need To Know About The New NAFTA Deal

Category : News

On Sunday, September 30th, Canada and the United States came to a new NAFTA agreement, just hours before the looming deadline for Canada to be included. While the agricultural industry was hoping Trudeau would hold strong, the new deal, called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), will most likely hurt Canadian dairy farmers.

Canada has agreed to give the U.S. dairy farmers access to 3.59 per cent of its approximately $16 billion annual domestic dairy market and will eliminate its class 6 and class 7 milk categories and pricing schedules, which the U.S. said priced them out of the Canadian market. The removal will cut prices on some milk ingredients like protein concentrates, skim milk, skim milk proteins and whole milk powder. Plus, while the U.S. is gaining access to Canada’s market, Canada’s access to the U.S. market has decreased.

Doug Ford, Ontario’s Premier, said farmers were being “thrown under the bus” and emphasized the need for federal compensation for any Canadian farmers affected by the new deal, which Trudeau has agreed to.

Some experts are estimating a big disruption in the market for consumers, and others say there might not be a noticeable difference in cost. For the agricultural industry, there are still some key details missing about USMCA, but the general consensus seems to be disapproval. For now, hopefully, Canadian consumers will continue to support Canadian dairy farmers.