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Price, not welfare, governs egg buying decisions

Ontario eggsAbout two-thirds of Canadian egg buyers have never bought eggs produced in cage-free facilities.

They say they could be motivated to change their buying habits – but price will be the key factor and not hen welfare.

That’s according to a study by NPD Group looking at consumer attitudes and demands for cage-free eggs, conducted last year for the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA). Continue reading Price, not welfare, governs egg buying decisions

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Social media changing Canadian beef promotions

BIC_logoMore beef check-off dollars are going into social media than ever before – and it’s proven to be a very effective strategy for boosting consumer awareness and driving loyalty to Canadian beef.

That’s according to Heather Travis, Canada Beef’s Director of Public Relations and Marketing Communications, who’s been a long time champion of social media and has made the organization a leader amongst Canadian farm groups when it comes to using new media tools. Continue reading Social media changing Canadian beef promotions

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Ontario dairy goat farmers win innovation awards

Kevin & Cindy Hope with daughter Mackenzie

Kevin and Cindy Hope, with daughter Mackenzie, receive their County of Peterborough award.

Cindy and Kevin Hope always knew they wanted to create their own branded line of dairy goat products and goat meat right on their farm some day.

What they didn’t know was that their efforts to build sustainability into their farming business would net them two prestigious awards.

Cross Wind Farm was the recipient of a 2013 County of Peterborough Recognition Award as well as a Premier’s Award of Excellence for Agri-food Innovation Excellence in 2012.

Continue reading Ontario dairy goat farmers win innovation awards

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University competition helped launch Ontario soy food business

YoSo Flamaglo foods

Brothers Erik and Francis Lo at their Cambridge, Ontario production facility. Photo courtesy of Francis Lo.

A growing Ontario soy food manufacturer can trace its roots back to an entry into a student competition at the University of Guelph 15 years ago.

Brothers Erik and Francis Lo entered a soy-based cream cheese alternative into the Project SOY contest in 1998 and although they didn’t win the competition, their company Flamaglo Foods is now recording annual sales of over $1 million.

Flamaglo, under the brand YoSo, sells dairy and gluten-free soy yogurts, gourmet spreads and dips using Ontario-grown soybeans. They’ve also started expanding outside of soy, introducing a line of coconut yogurts last summer.

Most of their products are found in the refrigerated organic or health food sections of major Canadian retail chains, as well as independent health food stores in Ontario and Quebec. Continue reading University competition helped launch Ontario soy food business

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Young farmers reach out to consumers

A group of young farmers has taken to social media to share with Canadians how they produce food and two fruit and vegetable growers are right in the thick of it.

Erin McLean, whose family runs a pick-your-own berry operation near Peterborough and serves farmers’ markets and local grocers with fresh fruits and vegetables, and potato grower Stephanie Kowalski from the Alliston area are part of a recently launched initiative called Dinner Starts Here.

Central to the project is a website called dinnerstartshere.ca, which features blog posts by ten young farmers as well as recipes, answers to frequently-asked farming questions and information about buying local. Social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest will be used to share information and bring visitors to the site. Continue reading Young farmers reach out to consumers

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Ultrasound helps beef farmers make better marketing decisions

Using ultrasound on cattle to identify carcass characteristics is helping beef farmers maximize their profitability.

A project led by Beef Improvement Opportunities (BIO) has shown that ultrasound technology can accurately predict specific carcass characteristics, such as weight, back fat and marbling, which directly affect how much a producer is paid for an animal.

Continue reading Ultrasound helps beef farmers make better marketing decisions

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Producing wine and cranberries in cottage country

Winemaking and farming aren’t two things most people associate with Muskoka.

Yet fruit wines and an iconic fall holiday berry are helping farmer Murray Johnston and his wife Wendy Hogarth put their family business on the map.

The couple, with help from their four sons, run Johnston’s Cranberry Marsh and Muskoka Lakes Winery near Bala, where they grow 27 acres of cranberries and produce a range of wines using locally grown fruit.

Most people think they know how cranberries are grown and harvested, says Wendy, but what they’ve seen in television advertising doesn’t paint an accurate picture. Continue reading Producing wine and cranberries in cottage country

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