Expanding Ontario turkey markets to new Canadians

 Ontario’s turkey farmers are looking to grow their market by appealing to new Canadians, particularly those of Chinese and Korean origin.

With support from Growing Forward 2 (GF2), Turkey Farmers of Ontario (TFO) undertook a market assessment, usage and attitude research, and development of an emerging markets strategic plan.

As of 2011, Canada’s Asian community was estimated at approximately 12.6 per cent of the country’s total population, with 1.46 million of Chinese origin and 184,000 from Korea.

Over the next decade, 70 per cent of consumer spending growth will come from visible minorities, and by 2031, Canada’s three largest ethnic groups (Chinese, South Asian, Filipino) are expected to account for 7.3 million of the total Canadian population.

Turkey is not a dietary staple among Asian consumers, but positive interest in its consumption shows the potential for growth in this market, particularly with Chinese Canadians. About half of consumers surveyed considered turkey to be a healthy choice.

However, most currently don’t eat turkey because they don’t know how to prepare it, are unaware of the availability of smaller, easy to use cuts and portions, and don’t know how to incorporate it into their traditional dishes and recipes.

A marketing strategy developed by TFO that is based on this research focuses on five key approaches to build turkey awareness and consumption amongst Korean and Chinese Canadians. This includes a knife skills roadshow featuring a celebrity culinary artist, developing Asian-specific recipes featuring turkey, building relationships with food bloggers, creating coupon campaigns, and gaining an understanding of cultural norms in these communities. The final report can be found at www.turkeyfarmers.on.ca.

Growing Forward 2 is a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. The Agricultural Adaptation Council assists with the delivery of GF2 programming in Ontario.