Most Canadians of European descent traditionally do not consume goat meat; however, goat meat holds a significant meaning in the observances of some religions and are a dietary staple in a number of countries. In Canada, the largest consumers of goat meat include persons of Middle Eastern, Asian, African, and Caribbean origin. Although many of these cultural communities tend to be centered in major metropolitan areas, markets can be developed anywhere ethnic populations exist.
There are many ways that goat producers can tap into ethnic religious markets for their animals. Producers may market their goats directly to ethnic customers, take their animals to regional livestock auctions prior to holidays, or sell them to intermediaries who supply or work with other producers to market live animals or carcasses to ethnic markets.
Producers should be aware of their customers’ religious holidays and customs, which may require changes in breeding, feeding and management. For example, production of goat products in Ontario is seasonal due to a goat’s natural breeding cycle. Some producers, in meat and milk operations, use management of lighting and hormone regimens to extend breeding cycles. Applying these production techniques can potentially improve the economics of production on goat farms and allow producers to target religious holidays year round.
Researching where specific ethnic communities are located and visiting specialty food stores are great ways to get to know your potential clients. Traditional recipes can also offer some insight into preferences for different holiday meals. This knowledge will help you plan your production to not only meet the quantity, but also the quality of goat meat desired at specific times, while encouraging repeat business and referrals.
Ontario Goat has compiled a listing of the target holidays for marketing goat meat. The Holiday Calendar below features examples of religious holidays where goat meat is sometimes consumed and a guideline around pricing.
Ontario Goat has also developed a 5 Year Ethnic Holiday Producer Planner, covering the years 2018-2022. This planner will help you keep up to date with the various events observed by ethnic Canadians. Plan production and ensure you are meeting consumer demand during these important holiday times. It also highlights the various holidays where goat meat is often featured and includes general consumer specifications for each. Please click here to download a copy of the 5 Year Planner.
What is Kosher?
Kosher is the term given to food that has met the requirements for Jewish dietary laws. To be considered kosher mammals must have both cloven hooves and ruminant digestion. There are many, very specific, stipulations to the kosher slaughter process which have been laid out in Jewish teachings. The slaughter and processing of these animals is performed by thoroughly-trained individuals, with the supervision of a Rabbi. For more information about kosher slaughter techniques, click HERE.
What is Halal?
In Canada, halal is a term most often associated with Islamic dietary laws, though its meaning is actually much broader than that. Generally, food is considered halal unless it is specifically forbidden in the Quran, e.g. pork, blood, or animals killed incorrectly. The halal slaughter process focuses on cleanliness and the welfare of the animal, and includes the slaughterer giving the animal a blessing. During the processing the animals must not suffer, see the blade, or smell the blood of previous slaughtered animals.
For more information about halal slaughter techniques, click HERE.