Canada captures beef sales at Russian expo

by Bryan Salvage
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CALGARY, ALBERTA – Sales for Canadian beef exporters is the end result of the Canada Beef Export Federation’s (C.B.E.F.) participation at Russia’s ProdExpo, a leading food-industry exhibition held earlier last month in Moscow.

“We joined with Canada Pork International to host this year’s booth, and both organizations benefitted from a stronger presence,” said Ted Haney, C.B.E.F. president. “The Federation’s engagement in Russia began at ProdExpo in 2009. This year, new business negotiations took place – for fresh chilled Canadian beef and veal, which will be flown regularly to Russia destined for high-end retail and foodservice markets, as well as for high-quality frozen beef shipped by ocean.”

Business negotiations were conducted by Federation Export Members who had representatives at the booth, including Canadian American Boxed Meat Corp. (Can Am Meats), Cargill, Ecolait Ltee., Export Packers, Wagyu Canada Inc. and Ronald A. Chisholm Ltd.

“Can Am Meat’s participation in the C.B.E.F. – C.P.I. booth at ProdExpo this month was particularly rewarding as a result of a recent alliance of XL Foods and Can Am Meats to introduce Canadian beef in Russia,” said Dave Munro, president of Can Am Meats. “Our main focus at this show was to align ourselves with the right partners in Russia to introduce Canadian high-quality chilled beef, and this we achieved. It is our belief there is a place in the Russian supermarkets and high-end restaurants for Canadian beef.

”I was amazed at how aware C.B.E.F. was of the players and how they functioned in the Russian market given that Canada had only gained access to the Russian market this past year,” he added. “It was obvious C.B.E.F. had played a significant role along with Canadian government trade representatives in accessing the Russian market. It made Can Am’s work to find what we believe are the right partners to work with in this market much easier.”

“Our market entry phase is moving ahead of schedule, but will require continued support to maximize opportunities,” Mr. Haney said. “A critical mass of clients has developed with leading importers and distributors already committed to Canadian beef. The remaining top importers and suppliers are also indicating they want to be part of the great Canadian market penetration unfolding in Russia.”

Exports of Canadian beef to Russia totaled 6,000 tonnes in 2009. The Federation’s Export Members have set the goal of exporting 11,000 tonnes to that market by 2020.

“Russia imported approximately 1.2 million tonnes of beef in 2009, placing it as the second-largest beef import market in the world,” Mr. Haney said. “I am confident the 2020 goal of our Export Members will be exceeded and re-set higher within the next year or two.”

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