Ontario Premium Meat Marketing Study

Project Background

In Ontario, there are some resources to find organic pricing for crops and other commodities, but very little market data on organic and other premium meat products. Consumers are interested in purchasing more sustainably sourced meat products, but there is confusion over what marketing labels mean and what standards and regulations exist. Understanding market demand, pricing, volumes and other market data is essential for the organic sector to continue to grow and thrive.

Project Goals

OCO undertook this research project to provide a better understanding of the premium meat market in Ontario, including where organic stands in comparison with other meat production claims (e.g. “grassfed,” “free from antibiotics,” etc).

The project study aims to:

  1. Understand and compare current premium meat labelling practices, standards and production requirements.
  2. Analyze the pricing levels and thresholds, marketability, consumer awareness and demand for various premium meat labels.

Project Outcomes

As part of the project, OCO collected retail prices of 1341 meat products from over 30 premium meat retailers across Toronto and the GTA from August to December 2018. OCO also conducted a retailer survey to better understand the demand for and prevalence of various production-based labels and claims, and customer perceptions and values when it comes to their purchasing decisions.

The final project report includes a comprehensive review of standards and regulations for method of production claims for meat and dairy, as well as analysis of the results from the retailer survey. Finally, the report analyzes the retail prices, comparing the organic premium to other labels.

OCO’s next steps will be to release a series of consumer education materials on various animal production claims. Proceeds from the report sales will also support further pricing collection and research.

The report highlights can be downloaded for free here, while the full report and pricing data are available for purchase.


Thank you to our project partners, Zettel Family Farms, Seilern Farm, and the Grey Bruce Centre for Agroecology. OCO would also like to thank Rosemarie Shepherd and Kristen Howe for their work collecting pricing data; Ashley Delarge, and members of OCO’s Board of Directors for their review of the final report; and True Foods, Pro-Cert and The Healthy Butcher for sponsoring the report.

Project Funding Provided By:

The views expressed in the report or materials are the views of the Organic Council of Ontario and do not necessarily reflect those of the Greenbelt Fund.