Canadian Dairy Commission causes price revolt by major dairy buyer

OTTAWA, Nov. 30 /CNW/ - Leaders of the foodservice industry are meeting with the Canadian Dairy Commission (CDC) today to express the industry's frustration with skyrocketing prices and unfair pricing practices.

"Restaurant operators have reached the breaking point on dairy prices," says Garth Whyte, President and CEO of the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CRFA). "Our members tell us they want to use more cheese, milk and other dairy ingredients on their menus, but they are being forced to use less because of the Canadian Dairy Commission's outrageous pricing practices."

The CDC is a Crown corporation that sets the price of industrial milk, which is used to make cheese, butter, ice cream and yogurt. The price has jumped by 60% over the past 15 years, or twice the rate of inflation. As a result, Canadians pay among the highest prices in the world for dairy products.

Frustration is particularly high among pizzerias. Under a little-known rule in Canada, fresh pizza makers must pay upwards of 30% more than frozen pizza makers do for mozzarella cheese - by far the most expensive ingredient on pizza.

    
    The CRFA will deliver three key messages to the Dairy Commission today:

    1. During an economic downturn when consumers are pulling back on
       spending, dairy prices must be reduced to be more competitive.
    2. Dairy prices need to be rolled back by 16.5% to bring them back in
       line with the consumer price index.
    3. Canadians need to know who is accountable for ensuring dairy prices
       are fair to all customers.
    

The restaurant industry is a major dairy customer, buying nearly $2.5 billion in dairy products annually.

CRFA is one of Canada's largest business associations, with 33,000 members representing restaurants, bars, caterers, institutions and other foodservice providers. The foodservice industry directly employs more than one million people across Canada.

SOURCE Restaurants Canada

For further information: For further information: Ron Reaman, CRFA Vice President, Federal, (416) 937-8640 or rreaman@crfa.ca; Prasanthi Vasanthakumar, Communications Specialist, (416) 649-4254 or pvasanthakumar@crfa.ca

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