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CRFA Exaggerates Canadian Milk Costs

October 14, 2011
  • Farmer's share of a restaurant glass of milk is 21 cents out of $2.00.
  • Canadians spend 10% of their disposable income on food, one of the lowest in the world, of which 1.5% is on dairy products.
  • Consumers in other countries, like the U.S. and E.U., pay twice for their dairy products; once at the checkout & again at tax time. Canadian consumers only pay once for their dairy products.

The Facts are:

  • Reducing the price dairy farmers receive for their milk would have little if any impact on how much consumers pay when they order a restaurant meal.
  • Canada’s dairy marketing system continues to provide the country with a reliable supply of high-quality milk at stable prices set to give farmers a fair return on their investment, labour and management.
  • The Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CRFA) has a campaign that claims Canadian consumers support reduced prices for milk, cheese and other dairy products. However, dairy farmers have no control over prices charged by retailers and restaurants for milk and dairy products.
  • Canadian farmers receive just 21 cents from a $2 glass of milk sold in a restaurant, and just 69 cents for the cheese on an $18.50 restaurant pizza.
  • If farmers gave their milk away for free there would be little impact on restaurant prices.
  • A CRFA survey of Ontario restaurateurs conducted in August showed dairy prices weren’t even on the radar of CRFA members. Their major concerns were rising energy, minimum wage costs, government red tape, and sales taxes. Dairy products were absent from the list.
  • The CRFA claims U.S. consumers pay less for milk. But, making direct comparisons between consumer milk prices in the U.S. and Canada is problematic. Prices vary from region to region in both countries. Prices have been generally lower in Canada for several years, although currently they can be higher.
  • Canadian dairy farmers receive their income entirely from the marketplace.
  • U.S. taxpayer dollars paid to U.S. dairy farmers, through government subsidies, can compensate when U.S. farmers do not cover their cost of production.
  • In other countries, where prices paid to farmers are unregulated, consumers rarely benefit at the checkout. In New Zealand, which has some of the world’s lowest dairy production costs and milk is based on world prices, consumers pay about the same for a litre of milk as they do in Canada.
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