Customers are willing to pay extra.
While new entrants continue to enter the natural and organic beef markets, finding those customers isn't as easy as setting up a table at the farmer's market, Cristoph Weder says.
"Our market penetration in Alberta has been very limited," he says of Heritage Angus, a group of about 18 ranchers who for seven years have been raising hormone and antibiotic free beef, which are range fed. Weder, located in northern Alberta, has about 500 animals on his ranch.
Heritage Beef, which processes up to 250 animals/week, ships much of its product to Europe, a market that opened further last fall when the European Union agreed to accept up to 20,000 tons of Canadian hormone-free beef/year duty free, expected to be worth $10 million/year.