In an effort to distinguish, the Association des éleveurs de canards et d’oies du Québec is launching the Quanard, a label that will be affixed to meat at the grocery store and which will allow consumers to understand (or not?) that their duck is from Quebec.

“The idea at the start was to occupy the space,” explains Philippe Saint-Jean, vice-president of business development at Agro-Québec, the firm that worked on this recognition project, with the breeders. Is the message so obvious? “No, admits Philippe Saint-Jean, who qualifies him more as subtle. But it catches the eye, he says, and it forces the consumer to ask questions. »

So that was the idea: to get attention.

Metro is the first retailer to participate: for a six-month test period, not only will the duck become the Quanard, with this new logo, but it will leave the small specialty meats section to find itself in the big leagues, at side of the chicken.

Farmers had already surveyed consumers and were asking for this space for their ducks, rather than a small off-centre and “elitist” area, says Philippe Saint-Jean. “The duck comes out of the closet,” he says.

Finally, this new logo wants to clearly distinguish the meat from here from the volatile foreign ones. French foie gras, for example, but also Hungarian duck. The Quebec Duck and Goose Breeders Association has seven producers, including Rougié and Canards du Lac Brome. This identification program was partly funded by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food of Quebec.

The duck industry is doing neither badly nor well, in terms of consumption – since it has remained stable in Quebec for a few years. “The fact that it’s stable, we see that in a good light,” says Thomas Delannoy, director of sales and marketing at Rougié, a breeder of mule ducks, a species intended for force-feeding.

According to him, the Quanard campaign is first and foremost a recognition initiative for consumers who will be able to choose local meat more easily. “We don’t have the indecency to think we’re going to eat duck every day and that’s not our goal,” he said.

Still, with the start of the summer season and the return of barbecues, the pleasures could multiply, he says. For this, the Metro campaign is timely.

According to a Léger survey conducted last year for the producers’ group, 76% of Quebec consumers consider that duck is intended for special occasions and less than one person in five (17%) has integrated it into their food routine.

Robert Caswell, president of the Association of Duck and Goose Breeders, believes that if consumption is not higher in Quebec, it is quite simply because consumers who go to the meat counter do not see not the duck. “When you see a prime rib, you buy it,” he said.

For the past ten years, the Hungarian duck has made its nest in Quebec grocery stores: imports increased around 2015, but fell slightly with the avian flu crisis in Europe. Producers here say this is unfair competition since the birds are not raised or slaughtered under conditions that meet Canadian standards.

Robert Caswell, also general manager of Hudson Valley Farms, which has a farm in Saint-Louis-de-Gonzague, Montérégie, believes that the appearance of Quanard will allow people who want to buy local products to recognize Quebec duck in First look. “Consumers here,” he says, “should know we’re making a great product. »