Finding that sweet spot to connect with consumers

With technology always advancing, shoppers want to know more about their food, and that is why the beef industry wants to create connections.

According to meat scientist Brad Morgan, “We’ve tried for the last 20, 30, 40 years in the industry, trying to educate consumers and telling them, ‘Hey, listen, this is the way you need to cook your beef steak,’ or ‘This is the way you need to make sure and cook your hamburger patty,’ and we finally have stopped educating them and now we’re trying to just engage and relate to them personally.”

That approach keep consumers happier as they keep buying beef.

“So, people are wanting to know the things like DNA traceability, they’re wanting to know about consistency, they wanted to have guaranteed tenderness,” Morgan states. “They’re wanting to know where it was fed, how it was managed, those types of things.”

Scientist are focusing on four groups: meat lovers, moms, marbling seekers, and millennials.

“Obviously, still our core basis, core customers, are meat lovers, and they like the things like ribeye and tenderloins and strip loins and high-end cuts. The moms are a very powerful group of customers. They control $20 trillion dollars worldwide. In fact, they control $7 trillion dollars in the United States. People expect products to taste good and obviously marbling is certainly a big part of that equation, and millennials... 25, 26 yeas olds. They’re pretty laid back, pretty casual, but one of the things you find out real quickly about them is that they love meat, especially ground beef,” Morgan notes.

Growing consumer interests in animal welfare and beef traceability adds importance to how the beef industry communicates those trends.

“There is a sweet spot. People want to know where it came from, how it was handled, how it was managed, but they don’t want to get into a lecture about DNA and all of that,” he adds. “We need to be able to explain our industry in about 30 seconds, and so we need to make sure that they understand that we have the technologies in place to trace it back to where the animal was born where it was fed, was it every sick, how was it managed, was it handled humanely, and again that technology is starting to become a reality.”

The search for definite answers calls on traceability programs; a tech trend that Morgan says will grow to become second nature: “I think that eventually, traceability back to the rancher or back to the feed yard, it’s going to become kind of a common norm. It’s going to be the commodity expectation for our industry.”

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