Mexican marketing campaign trumpeting quality of Canadian beef pays dividends

Mexican grocer says Canada beef producers could see a high return from 
exporting different cuts and lower grades to his country

One of Mexico’s largest distributors of meat and dairy products has put Canada beef behind its meat counters following a successful promotion of the Canadian Beef brand.

In a bid to reserve falling exports to Mexico, Canada Beef partnered with Grupo Bafar, which manages almost 200 retail meat stores in northern Mexico. Prior to the promotion, Grupo Bafar didn’t stock Canada beef in its retail stores, Jorge Fares, CEO of the company’s retail division, said at the 2013 Canada Beef Annual Forum last month.

“We weren’t doing anything with Canada,” said Fares. “Canada Beef approached us, and we started buying Canadian beef.”

The three-month promotion — which involved radio, TV, newspaper ads, flyers, posters and in-store product demos — paid off, he said.

“During the promotion, the purchase of Canada beef from our company grew 375 per cent, and in the following months, we doubled the volume of the product,” he said. “People kept coming and buying it.”

This shows the market potential for Canadian beef in his country, says Fares.

“We reached 304,000 clients who tasted the product in our stores, and we could triple that number easily in all our stores,” he said.

“Last year, we were doing three loads a month from Canadian beef. We did 60 or 70 loads last month from Canadian beef. This is the market potential.”

Quality was the key, with a growing number of consumers favouring grain-fed beef to the grass-fed variety. More than half of Mexican cattle are grass fed, and Grupo Bafar emphasized that distinction in the promotion.

“What we tried to convey to them was Canadian beef means quality,” said Fares. “We targeted the tenderness and the marbling, and it really worked wonders.”

There’s also an opportunity to market lower grades and different cuts in Mexico, he said. While Grade A beef is considered lower quality here, Mexican consumers prefer leaner beef cuts, he said.

“You can try to get the best of both worlds,” said Fares. “Sell your product at a premium here and sell the other products at a premium for export. That’s what will bring a return on investment for each cattleman here in Canada.”

About the author

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Jennifer Blair

Jennifer Blair is a Red Deer-based reporter with a post-secondary education in professional writing and nearly 10 years of experience in corporate communications, policy development, and journalism. She's spent half of her career telling stories about an industry she loves for an audience she admires--the farmers who work every day to build a better agriculture industry in Alberta.

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