Free Your Milk: Restaurant industry rallies consumers against rising prices


Nearly two-thirds of Canadians support a reduction in the price of dairy, survey finds

TORONTO, Oct. 12, 2011 /CNW/ - Canadians believe we're getting milked when it comes to the high cost of dairy in this country, with 73 per cent reporting that the cost of the staple food is increasing.

In fact, nearly two-thirds of Canadians (58%) would support a reduction in the price of milk, cheese and other dairy products, and 70 per cent agree keeping the cost of milk and dairy products down is important, according to a survey by Innovative Research Group commissioned by the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CRFA).

"When it comes to the cost of milk, Canadians deserve to know where they stand," says Garth Whyte, CRFA's President and CEO. "The current system is making Canadian milk and cheese less attractive - and less affordable - for everyone."

As Canada continues to struggle from the recent recession and the threat of more economic stress, many families are still finding it hard to make ends meet - especially at the grocery store. Despite the fact that milk remains a nutritious option for families, Statistics Canada reports that Canadians are consuming 18 per cent less milk than they did 20 years ago.

And according to the survey, 62 per cent of Canadians agree that having a system that charges higher prices than necessary for a basic healthy food like milk isn't fair.

Under Canada's complex dairy system, milk is priced differently depending on its end use. Since 1994 the price of milk used to make cheese and yogurt has climbed by 58.5 per cent while the consumer price index has risen by only 34.2 per cent. Based on figures from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), today Canadians pay roughly double the world average for milk and 63 per cent more than Americans. As a result, Canada's dairy supply management system is costing Canadians approximately $2.4 billion every year.

CRFA believes it's time to address the inflated price of dairy products in Canada. That's why today CRFA is launching FreeYourMilk.ca, a website aimed at giving Canadians a space to voice their concerns about the cost of dairy. Consumers can learn more about this issue and sign a petition asking the government to re-examine the 40-year old policies that govern how milk is priced in Canada. In addition, consumers are encouraged to like the Free Your Milk campaign on Facebook (www.facebook.com/FreeYourMilk) or tweet the #FreeYourMilk hashtag to join the conversation.

"We believe the Canadian dairy industry can be among the best in the world if we can find a way to increase consumption of affordable dairy products across the country," says Whyte. "CRFA is interested in working with federal and provincial governments and the dairy industry to see a fair and transparent system that benefits everyone."

Other key findings from the survey include:

The online survey was conducted by Innovative Research Group through its Canada 20/20™ research panel among a sample of 1,316 Canadians, 18 years of age or older. The surveys were conducted between January 28th and February 4th, 2011. Using Census data from Statistics Canada, the results were weighted according to region, age, gender and language to ensure a sample representative of the entire Canadian adult population. An unweighted probability sample of this size would have an estimated margin of error of ±2.7% (19 times out of 20). The margin of error will be larger within each sub-grouping of the sample.

About the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association

The Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CRFA) is one of Canada's largest business associations, representing more than 30,000 members across the country in every sector of the vibrant foodservice industry, including restaurants, bars, cafeterias, coffee shops and contract and social caterers. Canada's $63-billion foodservice industry employs more than one million people in communities across the country. Through advocacy, research, member savings and industry events, we help our members grow and prosper.

For further information:

Natalie Sauvé
High Road Communications on behalf of CRFA
613-688-1187 | Natalie.Sauve@highroad.com