As the foodservice industry strives to recover from the effects of the last few years, with inflation and supply chain delays persisting, operators are looking to build a connection with their customers. Food is all about heart, and it’s the storytelling that resonates with Ontario diners. They trust local farmers, and they want to support companies that help boost the Canadian economy. In 2018, Ontario Beef developed their Carve Premium Ontario Beef program with Flanagan Foodservice to help share the story behind Ontario beef and work to promote it in the marketplace.
The program provides an opportunity for independent restaurant operators to convey to their customers who produces their beef, the care that goes into looking after the cattle and the land, and how they produce consistently high-quality product.
“Carve Premium Ontario Beef can tell that story with credibility,” says John Baker, director of the Market Development Program at Ontario Beef. “We are recognized internationally for producing some of the best beef in the world right here in Ontario. Our farmers are very proud of the high quality they produce,” he continues.
What are some of the benefits of the program? The cattle are raised on Ontario family farms that are certified under a defined on-farm quality assurance program. These farms have processes in place to verify the care, and health and welfare of their animals, demonstrating the high-quality nutritious feed ingredients and processes in place to help sustain the natural environment.
The quality of the product is exceptional, with a minimum of 21 days aging to enhance tenderness. As well, the beef is pre-trimmed to remove excess fat, making it easy to simply portion and grill, and allowing for less labour and higher yields.
Partnerships are an important way for Ontario Beef to promote their product and they are a long-time partner of Flanagan Foodservice, the largest Canadian, family-owned, independent distributor, serving over 7,000 restaurants and foodservice operators in Ontario, as well as New Brunswick, and Newfoundland through Capital Foodservice and FJ Wadden.
“Flanagan’s has made a tremendous commitment to support farming families. We work closely with them to ensure the program continues to grow and that it is recognized in the market,” says Baker.
Along with the pride that comes from helping Canadian producers, the Carve Premium Ontario Beef program is a way for consumers to support a more sustainable agenda and find a reliable supply chain. “Ontario beef is a wonderful product at a competitive price,” says Barry Reid, VP Sales and Marketing, Flanagan Foodservice. “Making it easy for restaurants to carry the product and promote Canadian producers with their customers is important to us.”
Working closely with Ontario Beef to help select the right grades for each cut and ensure the product is aged to perfection, Flanagan’s wants to help independent restaurants access and promote the product with a protein program that supports producers and lets customers know where their food comes from.
As the industry continues on their path to recovery, the Carve Premium Ontario Beef program offers smaller restaurants a competitive edge, allowing them to stand out from their competition, provide a consistent, superior product, and connect with their customers over story of the origin of their beef, from farm to table.