Friday, November 25, 2005

'Cheese this, hoser'

Here in the States, restaurant operators have been griping about rising food costs all year. Their cousins up in Canada have decided to stop merely carping and start fighting back.

A number of pizza chains operating north of the border have joined forces to counter what they see as unjustifiably high cheese prices. Starting next week, their carryout and delivery boxes will be affixed with stickers inciting consumers to sound off about the higher costs being passed along to them. “Cheesed off about high dairy prices?”, read the tags. It encourages them to visit a website set up by the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association,

The site looks like something from the Center for Consumer Freedom, the Doberman-like industry lobbying group here in the U.S. But it’s actually from the Canadian counterpart of our National Restaurant Association. The site uses an interactive graph to illustrate how regulators have hiked dairy prices by 49% since 1994 despite a 4.5% drop in the cost of producing milk. The click-to-run graphic’s headline reads, “Spot the Moostake.”

Another area of the site allows visitors to pass along their opinions to the Canadian Dairy Commission, the national body that sets dairy prices. The Commission is widely expected to raise the scale next month, after hiking prices by 7.8% earlier in 2005.

Restaurant operators can also use the site to get free downloadable protest posters for their stores. Of particular annoyance to the industry is the difference in the price of cheese sold to food processors for frozen pizzas and what pizzerias are charged. explains that the sky-high price of mozzarella prompted the Dairy Commission to extend a 30% discount to companies that manufacture frozen pizzas for sale in grocery stores, apparently to ease the impact on consumers.

Without a similar adjustment, the CRFA has said, Canadian pizzerias typically keep only 43 cents of every $13 pie they peddle.

The protest reportedly involves such U.S.-based corporate giants as Pizza Hut and Domino’s. But the effort is classic grass-roots rebellion.

No comments:

Post a Comment