It's not pricey prime rib or tempting T-bone steaks that are driving demand for Canadian beef south of the border, it's the desire for basic ground meat that's boosting the value of cattle, says an industry expert.

Travis Toews, president of the Canadian Cattlemen's Association, said at the Saskatchewan Beef Industry Conference in Saskatoon last week that the North American recession caused the shift.

"During the recession, particularly in the U.S., consumers have traded down from high-value middle meats -- in other words fine dining restaurants where they might go out and buy a steak or a prime rib,” he said. “More of those consumers are going to quick-service restaurants and consequently, we've seen a real demand shift from the higher-value middle meats to the grinding product.”

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