Primary Chicken Sector
Lucy McKee - Cargill Meats Canada - London ON
Joël Cormier - Exceldor Coopérative - Lévis, QC
Michael Burrows - Maple Lodge Farms Limited - Brampton, ON
Ed Fetting - Sunrise Poultry Ltd. - Surrey, BC
primary chicken processor members operate 34 primary
processing plants in 9 provinces. These companies have a throughput of more than 1
billion kilograms (eviscerated weight) of meat each
year, which represents more than 90% of all chicken
processed in Canada. We estimate that this coast to
coast economic activity directly employs over 9,000
Canadian workers, and represents an investment in plant
and equipment of more than $800 million.
Over 90% of the supply of raw product purchased by our members comes exclusively from the chicken producers of Canada (members of the Chicken Farmers of Canada). To assist producers in determining policies which will benefit the entire Canadian chicken meat industry, two Council members sit on the Board of the Chicken Farmers of Canada.
In chicken, the Canadian consumer preference for breast meat and wings is met by importing additional breasts and wings, over and above what is produced in Canada, through Tariff Rate Quotas TRQ’s. In addition, export programs in the chicken sector result in the export of thighs and drums. The result is a market that is kept in balance through domestic production and processing, imports and exports. From domestic production the processing of whole birds yields approximately 52% breast & wings and 48% legs. This ratio is changed through imports and exports to approximately 57% / 43%. Canada continues to be a net importer of chicken.
The per capita consumption (PCC) of chicken meat in Canada has more than doubled since 1975. After flattening out in the first decade of the new century, PCC has recently begun to increase again and is over 31 kg per person. Chicken has been Canadian’s preferred meat protein for over a decade. In an environment where Canadian consumers are eating less meat, the nutritional, economic and versatile characteristics of chicken win increasing approval from diet and value conscious Canadian consumers. As both domestic and export opportunities continue to be developed, the members of the primary chicken processors sector will maintain their commitment of supplying high quality products at competitive prices, while enjoying continuing growth.