© Mike Carson/Journal Pioneer.
Robert Gallant, owner of Michael’s Pizzeria in Summerside, is hopeful a move by Canadian dairy farmers will open the door for lower prices on mozzarella cheese prices. The move will favour the development of the market for mozzarella in the restaurant sector and benefit farmers, processors and restaurants.
SUMMERSIDE – A recent change by the Canadian Dairy Commission could mean cheaper pizza as soon as next month.
The Canadian Dairy Commission (CDC) has announced the creation of a milk class for mozzarella cheese to be used on fresh, restaurant-made pizzas.
The new 3-(d) class was approved by the Canadian Milk Supply Management Committee (CMSMC) and will take effect June 1. The new class will lower costs for restaurants that prepare and cook pizzas on site and hopes within the industry are that it will help grow the market segment for mozzarella cheese in Canada.
“The Dairy Farmers of Canada and the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CRFA) have been collaborating with the CMSMC on finalizing this proposal for a few months now,” said Wally Smith, president of Dairy Farmers of Canada. “It is the farmers’ sincerest hope that this class will bring growth in sales of cheese in the restaurant pizza category.”
Robert Gallant, owner of Michael’s Pizzeria in Summerside said the new regulations put fresh pizza outlets on a level playing field with the frozen pizza industry.
“We were always at a disadvantage because of the frozen market,” Gallant said. “They use to be able to buy their cheese, which they still do, at a substantial reduction to us that put us at a disadvantage. We have fought for years and years through the Canadian Federation of Independent Business and different places to try to get us on more of a level field.”
Gallant said the prices pizzeria operators have to place on their pizzas are affected by the high cost of cheese.
“Our margins are completely different than what they would be in they were in the frozen market,” he said. “Now, the dairy farmers are have allowed us to be able to get a reduction in the price of our mozzarella.”
Gallant’s concerns were echoed by the president and CEO of the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association.
“This new restaurant mozzarella cheese class responds to longstanding concerns raised by CRFA on behalf of our members and fresh pizza makers across the country,” said Garth Whyte. “We congratulate the dairy industry for making this important announcement.”
This new class covers standardized mozzarella cheeses to be used strictly on fresh pizzas by establishments registered with the CDC under terms and conditions approved by the CMSMC.
“It could mean a substantial amount of money to us,” he said. “Cheese is the biggest part of our product. So, if we can get a reduction, I would have no problem reducing the price of my pizza.”
Gallant said he could guarantee that if the prices come down enough if would be reflected in the marketplace.
“I’m a true believer that people love pizza,” he said. “But it has gotten to the point where it gets so gosh darn pricy that people have to make a decisions as to whether they are going to have that or something else. If we can get the prices of our pizzas down, more people will consume it and that’s even good for the dairy industry because they’re going to sell more product.”
Gallant said it is an issue of supply management.
“I never wanted to see supply management gone,” he said. “We need our farmers to get paid for their product. We need to have that ... but when I go (to the U.S.) and we go into a store and see that mozzarella cheese is half the cost of what it is here, there’s something wrong with that picture. If this is a way that we can get lower cheese prices without hurting the supply management end of it this would a good step to help us reduce our price of the mozzarella cheese.”