These days, sustainability and animal welfare are often in the news, and it’s important that chefs and restaurateurs know the facts about Canadian chicken. Often, it’s false information and exaggeration that receive media coverage and industry professionals need to help consumers distinguish fact from fiction. Reports of chickens being kept in tiny cages or getting so big that their legs can no longer carry them have made headlines, but these stories are untrue and promote extremist agendas to the public.
Dispelling false information promoted by activists and NGOs and educating restaurants and consumers are all part of Lisa Bishop-Spencer’s mission. As Director of Brand and Communications at Chicken Farmers of Canada, Lisa wants restaurants to know that they are not alone.
“One of our biggest challenges at Chicken Farmers of Canada is helping restaurants understand what makes Canadian chicken different,” she says. “A lot of these activists will come across so credibly, that restaurants are inclined to believe them,” she continues.
She explains how restaurants can sometimes get misled, signing contracts or making commitments based on an emotionally driven extreme agenda, rather than scientific truths about chicken in our country. “It makes sense that restaurants want to avoid boycotting or negative publicity, of course,” she says, “but restaurants should feel free to reach out, get the facts, and stand behind Canadian farmers.”
Canadian Chicken Farmers is an educational resource that restaurants can turn to, providing easily accessible, educational tools for restaurants to distribute to their clientele, like marketing material and website copy. They have even sent farmer representatives to restaurants during protests to help answer questions and educate the public.
A whopping 96% of Canadians feel good about buying their food from Canadian farmers, and trust in farmers is higher than it is for most groups.
Canada has roughly 2800 chicken farmers across the country, as part of a supply management system. Chicken Farmers of Canada meets with farmers, processors, further processors, and restaurants across the country every eight weeks to manage how much chicken is raised, based on consumer demand.
Chicken Farmers of Canada represent and advocate for the interests of chicken farmers and the chicken industry. Their 15-member board, comprised of industry professionals, works together on behalf of Canada’s chicken industry.
Consumers are interested in buying fresh, high-quality, Canadian-grown chicken and farmers are producing exactly that, “from gate to plate”. “93 per cent of Canadians are looking for Canadian meat,” says Lisa, “and restaurants need to deliver on the expectations of Canadian consumers.”
Restaurant owners and operators need to be able to answer questions and relay information to
customers. It’s important that activism and extreme agendas don’t prevent the restaurant industry from helping to get Canadian chicken onto Canadian plates.
For many restaurants, Chicken Farmers of Canada is an untapped resource. Teaming up with Chicken Farmers of Canada means restaurants and chefs can get the information they need, help to dispel falsehoods, provide support to our farmers, and have confidence that they’re delivering the best chicken that Canada had to offer.
Learn more about Chicken Farmers of Canada and how they can help, visit this link.