05Canada (HRNW): Canada’s beef industry has flourished for the past 300 years, but it was only in 2011 that Canada Beef was founded.

The group is working to “connect, innovate and inspire” in telling the story of Canadian beef to the world. It was formed when three agencies around since the 1970s were merged to streamline the marketing and business development of Canadian beef.

That’s when Manitoba native Rob Meijer, an expert in the agri-food industry with over 16 years of experience, came on board as president. Eight of those years were with Cargill in Winnipeg, where he managed 15 of the company’s agri-business units, including its beef portfolio.

That role gave Meijer a thorough grounding in the supply and demand dynamics for agricultural products that has been so valuable in shaping his global vision for the future of Canada Beef.

He says Canadian beef is promoted as the embodiment of what it is to be Canadian. Aided by the efforts of Canada Beef, the country has become the world’s eighth largest beef exporter while contributing some $25 billion annually to the Canadian economy.

Much is being done to promote the brand and health benefits of beef.

Last month, a culinary event including a cooking class was held in Beijing, China, that highlighted the four pillars of its Canadian beef branding strategy.

The first of those pillars is the industry’s hard-working and dedicated producers — 68,000 across Canada — who strive to bring good food to your table while being good stewards of the land and animals in their care. The second, the product, is raised under ideal conditions.

The third pillar is the industry’s world-class standards of scientific and technological sophistication. The fourth is a commitment to protecting and preserving economic, environmental and social sustainability.

Canada Beef is working hard to foster loyalty to its brand and build strong relationships with trade customers and partners through its overseas visits and offices in Canada, Mexico, Japan, China and Taiwan. It’s also making very good use of its Canadian Beef Centre of Excellence within its Calgary headquarters.

Recently, 10 chefs from Mexico were invited there to compete between themselves using a variety of choice cuts of Canadian beef.

It is busy hosting government missions, retailers and chefs who are encouraged to experiment and test innovative new menu options before bringing them to market.

The Centre of Excellence contains a broadcast-equipped presentation boardroom with seating for 30, a demonstration theatre, a fully equipped beef fabrication room and both a consumer and commercial kitchen fully equipped with the most up-to-date equipment including combi-ovens, induction cooking and sous vide options.

Meijer says it promises to bring a level of sophistication in training, education and connectivity with clients and markets unlike anything else in the industry.

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