Beef Consumers Seek Transparency, Trust
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Before grocery store shelves were laid bare in the early days of the ongoing pandemic, food researcher Anne-Marie Roerink of 210 Analytics released findings from an annual study of meatcase trends and consumer behavior.
She shared what she learned with cattle producers at The Brand Marketing Summit, an event hosted by the American Hereford Association.
“To me, food is a fascinating category to look at as a researcher,” Roerink said. “We’ve been doing the Power of Meat on behalf of the Food Marketing Institute and the National North American Meat Institute.”
Researchers have conducted the study for about 15 years, asking 1,500 consumers detailed questions about their meat purchases.
“We tend to look at consumer behavior and attitudes a lot, and that means what does a consumer do in the grocery store, how do they interact with our food at home? What are their attitudes as it relates to the meat category in specific?” Roerink said. “With all of that information we hope to help the meat industry all the way from farm to fork, as we say, be better at really meeting the needs and the wants, which is a big thing in today’s environment of the consumer.”
In asking consumers these questions, Roerink and her team are able to gather valuable information to pass on to the producers. For the beef industry, she offered insight.
“Where I think the beef industry has a lot of ground to gain is in teaching people more about beef, so to make sure that not everything is ground or meatballs or burgers, but really giving the younger generations more comfort with preparing roasts and ribs and what they consider the more difficult cuts as well,” she said.
When it comes to the next generation of shoppers, transparency will win the day, Roerink explained.
“We have a lot of opportunity to connect with Millennials in new and different ways. It’s also a lot more need for transparency,” she said. “It’s wanting to know more about where does it come from, where did the meat, where was it raised, how was it raised, what did it eat, and I think that is a huge opportunity for producers to connect with consumers on.”
“To me, transparency is the currency of trust, and the more we can show, the more the consumer will start to link again to the brand and to the eating experience and that just means a win all the way around,” Roerink said.
–Certified Hereford Beef
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Outtagrass Cattle Co. cartoon by Jan Swan Wood for the June 19, 2021, edition of Tri-State Livestock News