The Estimation of Red Meat Demand Elasticities in Canada Essay

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Red Meat consumption has been declining in the developed world over the past few decades, and the trend is no different in Canada. Demand for beef and pork in Canada have steadily declined since the late 1970s, with per-capita beef and pork consumption declining by 23.3% and 11.3% respectively from 1980 to 2001. However, demand for chicken has been trending higher, with a per-capita increase in consumption of 91.5% in the same period (Lerohl et al., 2004). The category of red meats which include beef, pork and other red meats showed a resurgence of life between 1997 and 1999, before continuing their decline. However, with the incidence of the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in Canada in 2003, beef consumption modestly increased that year as Canadians rallied behind the industry following a US-Canada border closing (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, 2011). Some of the reasons that have been attributed to a decreasing demand for red meat include vegetarianism, increasing attractiveness of non-meat meals due to their perceived convenience by the general public (e.g. prepared pasta dishes), a belief that fish and poultry, vegetable, pulse or grain based diets are more healthy, and increased adoption of Asian styles of cooking that are less dependent on red meat (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, 2011).
Studying meat demand in Canada is important for a number of reasons. Although data is not collected in all the food groups, meat and products containing meat are by far the largest single category of expenditures at the retail level, representing nearly $11 billion or 30% of all retail sales in 2003 (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, 2011). Additionally, livestock production is one of the main ways Canadian farmers add value to their grain production James Eales, 1996).
Research aimed at estimating the elasticity of various meats in Canada is limited and dated, with the majority of them carried out in the 1990s. Although U.S. demand studies abound, and...

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