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Meat becoming sought-after holiday gift

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Some businesses in Manitoba are seeing a rise in meat packages being given as gifts during the holiday season.

Ed Canton, the owner of Cantor’s Meats, has been offering Christmas meat packages for years.

“People buy gifts for their family,” he said. “They buy meat packs and they buy Christmas packages because it's affordable and they don't know what to buy as a gift for somebody and they know people are hungry so they'd rather give food instead of a gift.”

Cantor says this season has been much busier than previous years.

“I would say it’s about a 40 per cent increase from last year,” he said.

Families may be considering the price of food more this year compared to previous years. According to a study by Sylvain Charlebois from Dalhousie University, food price inflation has risen over 20 per cent since the start of the pandemic. In addition, a traditional Christmas meal for a group of four to six people will cost $104 on average.

Some people aren’t even waiting for the meat to arrive on store shelves, instead going directly to farmers like Ian Smith to get an entire side of pork to give as a Christmas gift.

”I’ve even had people buying sides of pork or a whole pig for a wedding gift,” he said.

Smith began selling sides of pork directly to consumers in 2002, but notes business really picked up during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it is busier this year.

“What do you give people nowadays? With a side of pork costing around that $350 range or so. It's a family package that you can consider,” he said.

While putting a steak or side of pork under the tree might be hard, Cantor says they also sell a lot of gift cards many use to buy beef and pork over the holidays.

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