Cattlemen need to connect with our rapidly changing food culture to understand how and why consumers eat and think as they do.
“Vegan and vegetarianism became all of a sudden a very hip term. And what we’re not talking about is the fact that 86% of Americans still describe their diet as that of a meat eater,” says Anne-Marie Roerink, principal of 210 Analytics. “How we as a beef industry can make sure that we elevate the profile of beef from a health perspective, from a nutrition, from animal welfare, impact of the environment and everything else.”
A lot of people buy meat for just one meal at a time, or maybe two, but they need more on hand to plan ahead.
“One of our biggest issues in the meat industry is the fact that people’s refrigerators and freezers are empty. If we figure out a way to meal-plan the way we used to, where the entire week is laid out, and beef and other meats are part of those meal plans, then I think we have a lot of opportunities to grow our sales,” Roerink says.
Beef may be out of many people’s culinary comfort zones, but new technology can give them more confidence, to plan on beef as they plan meals for the week.
“We have not had new innovation in cooking technology in a long time until the arrival of the instant pot and the air fryer. And of course, those two appliances are incredibly popular among millennials, and they work extremely well with meat,” she says. “And I think this is our opportunity for beef to get in on the ground level and explain that if you have a frozen solid roast in your freezer, you can put it in your instant pot and still have a healthy, good, great-tasting meal for the family 30 minutes later.”
Building that confidence leads to more home-cooked meals made with beef, and millennials trust brands to deliver the best every time.
“How can we convince people to buy that beef one more time? And that eating experience is really central to that. So again the Certified Angus Beef program, giving that consistency and eating experience is a fantastic way of driving that extra tip, driving a bit of extra dollars and giving people the confidence that they can create a wonderful tasting meal at home,” Roerink notes.
Consumers want to know more about their food. Beef producers need to share their stories.
“I truly believe that consumers have the biggest trust in farmers. A lot of people think about the supply chain as being linear with the farmer on the one end and the consumer on the other. I think more and more it’s really becoming round, where the consumer wants the interaction with the farmers. They want to hear about how the animals were raised and where,” she concludes.
Roerink says joining that dialog will help keep beef producers in touch with the nuances of shifting consumer demand.