The great thing about America’s food supply is the abundance of choices we have available. Walk down the grocery store aisle, and you’ll find countless options. Additionally, the information we can obtain about our foods with a quick glimpse at a label is amazing. The meat case, for example, offers the savvy consumer choices like grass-fed, grain-fed, USA-raised, all-natural, organic and more. You can now meet the rancher behind your beef. You can know the calories/bite of that steak you select in the store. Often, meat cases even have brochures with recipe ideas and preparation tips. With so many choices and so much information, you can’t go wrong. Right?
A recent survey conducted by volunteer "agvocacy" group, CommonGround, indicates that while these choices offer our consumers great flexibility, they also come with a price. More than 70% of moms surveyed admit to having questions or concerns about how their food is grown or raised. More than 60% of moms overall - and nearly 80% of moms ages 18 to 24 - say they would buy organic meat, produce and dairy products if they could afford it, but fewer than one out of 10 moms could accurately identify what qualifies food to be labeled organic. Additionally, the survey found that nearly half of all moms mistakenly believe that organic foods have a greater nutritional value than similar nonorganic items. And not being able to afford organic meat, dairy and produce was the main source of food guilt among moms - edging out overall food affordability.
These feelings of guilt and confusion are completely unneccessary. Yet, I don’t blame the consumer for being apprehensive about beef. Take a look at the headlines these days, and the news is ripe with articles tearing down the beef industry with fear-mongering pieces about pink slime, mad cow disease and meat glue. For someone not in tune with the beef production story, this is scary stuff to read. No wonder moms feel so concerned about the foods they are giving to their families!
There lies the challenge for us as beef producers. While these headlines continue to derail our consumer confidence, it’s Beef Month and the start of summer grilling season. To me, this is the perfect time to highlight the safety, wholesomeness and nutritional profile of great-tasting beef.
That’s why BEEF Daily has launched the May Beef Month Recipe Contest, sponsored by Roper Apparel. Until the deadline on Saturday, I’m accepting all beef grilling recipes, with the winner of the contest taking home a $125 boot gift certificate from Roper. To enter, simply submit your best recipe with photo to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and help show consumers how ranchers enjoy beef during the summer grilling months. Check out the contest details here.
How are you promoting beef during Beef Month? How can we better alleviate consumer concerns about beef?