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4 food priorities of older Americans

Amanda Radke Baby Boomer Food Preferences

There’s plenty of focus on millennial consumers these days, and the food industry dedicates ample resources on reaching these savvy influencers. After all, millennials are active on social media and are more than willing to share positive and negative reviews on particular brands and experiences, so the pressure is on for retailers to get things right and serve this demographic.

But we can’t forget about older generations. What are they looking for in food choices as they reach retirement age?

A recent study conducted by the AARP Foundation and the International Food Information Council Foundation surveyed consumers ages 50-80 to uncover insights about the shopping habits and dietary preferences of older Americans.

Here are four conclusions from the study, which could be useful as the industry works to promote beef to this demographic:

1. Confidence in choices

According to the study, “While 80% of all consumers say there’s a lot of conflicting information about what to eat and what to avoid, only 47% of those 50-80 say it makes them doubt the choices they make, compared to 61% of those ages 18-49.”

2. Seeking health benefits

The survey indicated that, “Those 50 and older are more likely to be able to connect specific foods with the health benefits they seek. Of those who named a desired benefit, 49% of older Americans could associate it with a food or nutrient source, versus only 40% of younger Americans.”

Yet it’s not about weight loss for this generation. Those surveyed in this demographic are more interested in seeking foods that offer cardiovascular benefits, and heart-healthy red meat is a great option. However, this demographic may be avoiding beef due to misconceptions about saturated fat in the diet.

3. Avoiding certain foods

The study reports, “Americans age 50-80 are more likely than those age 18-49 to be cutting back on foods higher in saturated fat more than younger Americans (75% vs. 57%).”

They also eat more whole grains and opt for low-fat or non-fat dairy products or alternatives to dairy compared to younger consumers.

4. Confidence in safety

Those surveyed are more confident in the safety of our food supply. The study revealed, “Confidence in the safety of the food supply increases significantly with age, with 55% from 18-49 saying they’re confident, 66% from 50-64, and 76% from 65-80.”

Read additional results from the survey here.

What this study says to me is that the older generation wants to make smart, healthy choices, but they may be basing their decisions on out-of-date information they followed when they were young, which mostly promoted a grain-based, low-fat regime. It would behoove the beef industry to promote beef as a beneficial food choice for heart health, managing diabetes, promoting lean muscle mass as we age and as a nutrient-dense protein option to give us energy into our 80s and beyond.

The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of or Penton Agriculture.

Wenner joins Dallas Market Center as executive vice president of leasing

Dallas Market Center announces Mary Wenner has joined the company as executive vice president of leasing, responsible for leasing strategy across all divisions.

Wenner joins Dallas Market Center from Neiman Marcus, where she held numerous leadership positions most recently as vice president of omni-channel merchandise planning for e-commerce, stores and catalog. She previously served Neiman Marcus as vice president of direct merchandise planning for e-commerce and catalog, as director of merchant systems development, and as assistant general manager for the Houston location. She began her career as a planner and then as a buyer. 

Wenner reports to president and CEO Cindy Morris. Executive vice president Eva Walsh will transition to lead new business and retail development and to identify and implement business growth and buyer delivery strategies.

“Mary’s remarkable experience in merchandising and planning, team building and new market expansion will be a tremendous asset,” said Morris.  “Our trajectory in gift, home, and fashion will benefit greatly from her retail intelligence and leadership capabilities.”

Wenner joins Dallas Market Center amid unprecedented growth in home décor and a flourishing daily business serving the interior design community as evidenced by the development of the Interior Home + Design Center opening in June. In addition, Dallas Market Center is the largest residential lighting marketplace in North America, a leading marketplace for thousands of gift manufacturers, the most comprehensive apparel and accessories marketplace in the U.S., the fastest growing housewares marketplace, and the home of leading holiday and floral resources.

Dallas Market Center serves retailers and interior designers from all 50 states and 85 countries and is located in the strongest economic zone in the country. Texas consistently ranks #1 in the U.S. in housing growth, #1 in consumer confidence, and recently reached a record $42.5 billion in annual retail sales. In addition, 80% of Dallas Market Center buyers report that they do not shop other market centers.

Someone is out to get you


Most of us work at finding ways to do a better job, advance in a career, and become more successful. That’s commendable, but we may differ on how to go about getting there. While most are straightforward, tackling one challenge after another, others do it differently and their actions leave marks that affect our success.

Most of us can’t choose our co-workers, team members, or business associates. Nonetheless, we can avoid being blindsided by those who, often unintentionally, would throw us off course. Here is what to look for:

Those who act too quickly. In school, they raced to get a seat in the front row and their hands went always up first when the teacher asked a question, even though they didn’t know the answer. Some never stop raising their hand first. They’re enthusiastic, but they can cause trouble by not take time to think things through.

Those who lack flexibility. We admire those who stand by their beliefs and don’t give in even when it could help to bend a little. Yet, rigidity can create roadblocks that thwart discussion and lead to hostility.

Those who rush to get it done. They plough right in, ignoring even the most obvious red flags. They never ask questions, refuse help, and never think through tasks before moving forward. They leave a trail of trouble behind them for others to clean up.

Those who never quite finish. Whatever the task, they drag it out (usually accompanied by questionable excuses). Then, when the deadline passes, they want more time to “check one more thing,” while co-workers are left waiting.

Those who want to do too much. Smart and capable, they’re up for any challenge that’s handed to them. You can count on them to do a good job and do it quickly. Without knowing it, they can also create dissention among team members who resent having a “star” in their midst.

Those who always misunderstand. It seems as if not getting something the way it was intended is a character trait with some people. No matter how clear the instructions or how detailed the discussion, someone always comes up with, “But I thought....” It isn’t so much that they see things differently as it is “reinterpreting” them so they’re comfortable with them.

Those who are brain pickers. “I’m kind of stuck. Could you give me some ideas?” they say. You can count on it. Some are just plain lazy, but others, lacking self-confidence, feel free to take from others, and adding nothing of their own.

Those who are unendingly late. Whether it’s getting to meetings or completing assignments, some people are always late. It doesn’t appear to bother them that others depend on them and that being out of step is disruptive.

Those who make up their own rules. In the past, there may have been more room for outliers, those who “march to a different drummer,” or “do their own thing.” But not so much in an interdependent and collaborative work environment that depends on communication, coordination, and cooperation.

Those who set their own limits. Whenever they’re asked to take on an assignment, meet a critical deadline, or make some accommodation, they always have too much on their plate, while others find time to get the job done. Their plates may be too small for the job.

Those who are always right. They may not know the right questions to ask, but they never run short on having the right answers. The more you attempt to convince them otherwise, the more they feel cornered and the more they resist. They’re favorite spot is standing outside the circle and criticizing.

Those who always see flaws. Uncovering flaws is a useful skill for improving the quality of our work. But some flaw-finding can be self-serving when it’s used to improve one’s position by embarrassing or attacking others.

Those who don’t think things through. An analytical approach takes time and, more often than not, requires deferring decisions until more data is available. But that doesn’t satisfy those who want action. “By the time we get around to making a decision,” they say, “It’ll be too late.” Pushing things through rather than thinking them through is dangerous.

Those who second-guess everyone and everything. No matter how hard you try to draw them into a discussion, they sit by silently while the members of the team wrestle with the issues. It’s then that the second-guessers come to life to let it be known why it won’t work, why it will fail.

Those who see only through their own eyes. No matter how vigorously denied, we’re all held in the clutches of biases that color our picture of the world. It’s the stuff that causes some to misunderstand and righteously reject ideas and actions that differ from their own.

Those who equate quantity with quality. Years ago, a student came to his 10th grade civic class carrying a ridiculously thick binder filled with newspaper clippings. Today, he would download endless articles from the Internet. Either way, the results are the same: a stack of stuff but little or no understanding.

While most of those we encounter throughout our careers are helpful and supportive, there are others whose actions can cause us trouble. So, what’s the best way to avoid being blindsided and hurt? Stay alert and remember, someone is out to get you. Count on it.

BEEF editor gets Trumped

Getty Images/Joe Raedle Trump negotiates beef deal with China

Well, I was wrong. Several weeks ago in this blog, I expressed my skepticism that China would act anytime soon on its promise to open its borders to direct import of U.S. beef. I based my skepticism on the past 13, now nearly 14, years of hollow promises by the Chinese government that it would relent.

And I based my skepticism on the fact that China has stringent import requirements that serve as non-tariff trade barriers. The main hurdles are no use of ractopamine and a national animal ID system. While the U.S. has infrastructure in place to deal with both those, I was sure that China would hold the line on animal ID. Since the U.S. can’t meet the nationwide animal ID requirement, I was sure the deal would fall apart once again.

I got Trumped.

As you probably know by now, President Trump and Chinese President Xi announced that U.S. beef would gain access to China no later than July 16, pending the outcome of one more round of technical talks.

Of course, the devil is in the details, and those haven’t been released yet. But Kent Baucus, director of international trade at NCBA, says most of the details have been addressed and NCBA is looking forward to what the final protocol will be.

Read: BEEF readers split on animal ID

However, he says any traceability requirement for beef going to China must be under a voluntary program, not a mandatory, nationwide effort. While we won’t know for sure until the final protocol is released, it appears that will be the case.

And that is a fine thing indeed.

Why? Because I’m also skeptical that the U.S. can develop a nationwide farm to fork animal ID system anytime soon.  Part of that skepticism is because, while there is some wonderful technology out there, making it work at the speed of commerce has been a challenge.  And secondly, there are some producers who simply won’t accept it.

And finally, a voluntary animal ID system allows producers who want to add value to their cattle another opportunity to do so. If you chose to participate in a program that requires animal ID, then you reap the possible reward. If you don’t like the idea, you can skip the potential premium.

Related:How can USDA improve animal disease traceability?

But here’s the thing: Just about all of you identify your cattle. According to BEEF’s recent survey on animal ID, 87% of respondents use a system to individually and separately identify their cattle.  Of those, 92% use dangle ear tags.

So if you’re keeping records and tagging your calves on the ranch, you already have the management systems in place to possibly qualify for any animal ID system that might be needed for the Chinese market.

We will know the final protocol soon. I’ll swallow my skepticism and pin my hopes on Trump’s ability to do a deal. Stay tuned.



Are you as confused about all this talk about bit coin as I am? It is digital coin not tied to bank. Money can be spent anonymously.

Worst year for replanting in Illinois in 20 years. 

Weekly corn bulletins showed pace of planting on pace with average, but condition is less.

Drought in Florida, extends into Georgia and Alabama. 77% Florida in drought.

Killer tornado in Wisconsin overnight. Forecast for spring storm with up to three feet of snow in Rockies.


The Prairie Lake Estates Trailer Park in northwest Wisconsin was where deadly tornado struck mobile home park yesterday. Result of big storm system stretched from Texas to Great Lakes.

Remarkable how little drought exists in U.S. Small area of drought in California. Almost all of Florida in drought. Lack of rain and high temps have made growing season very challenging. 

Maplewood, Minn., young lady spending time on beach in Dominican Republic. Plan for grand wedding came crashing down two months. Since couldn't cancel wedding, threw party for residents at Ronald McDonald House in Twin Cities.

Farm Progress America, May 17, 2017

Max Armstrong shares information from British food expert Dr. Food and his perspective on the growing demand for food. Dr. Food also looks at how consumer preferences  are changes and notes that farmers will have to change the products they raise.

Farm Progress America is a daily look at key issues in agriculture. It is produced and presented by Max Armstrong, veteran farm broadcaster and host of This Week in Agribusiness.

Two habits to implement in the ranch business

Amanda Radke Habits of successful cattlemen

The path to success, particularly in production agriculture, is definitely not linear. The winding road that will hopefully lead you to profitability and building a legacy to pass on to the next generation is slow-going and full of unexpected hurdles.

Whether it’s a market slump, a damaging storm, management clash between two or more generations, or heaping debt as producers invest everything into running the operation, there are incredible challenges to being in this business.

Enter BEEF's "For the love of land & livestock" contest by clicking here!

Of course, even the best laid plans don’t always turn out as expected.

When the going gets tough, there are two habits we can practice to weather through the toughest storms and battle forward on our path to success and reaching our short- and long-term goals.

Matt Mayberry may not be a cowboy, but as the CEO of his own maximum performance strategy company, he understands business. Mayberry, writing for SKM Associates, offers the two things he does when the going gets tough.

First, study the greats.

Mayberry writes, “I am an avid reader. I read a new book every single week, but one of my favorite types of books is autobiographies. I enjoy reading about the incredibly successful who went on to change the world with how they lived their lives.

“When you pick up an autobiography of one of the greats, you quickly realize the amount of persistence and fight they possessed, even in the face of extreme uncertainty and hardship. When I find myself going through a difficult time, one of the first things I do is pick up an autobiography of a world-class achiever.

“Reading that individual's story reminds me of the power of never giving up, and passionately always fighting for what you believe in and desire. The next time you find yourself going through a difficult period in your life, pick up an autobiography, watch a documentary or find some way to study the greats. Success leaves clues.”

Find a mentor. Ask questions. Study the cattlemen who are successful and visit with them about how they overcame road blocks. There’s much to be learned by each other in this industry, so lean in and gain important insight from those you aspire to be like.

Second, never lose sight of your major goals.

Mayberry suggests, “One of the first things that happens when people get knocked down and come face to face with adversity is that they lose sight of the original goal or vision. Instead, these individuals let the negativity they are currently experiencing come to the forefront of their minds, which prevents them from taking action and moving forward.

“I myself carry a note card with me everywhere I go that has all of my major goals written on it. When I get knocked down, experience a negative curveball thrown my way or just lack the inspiration to keep fighting, I look over this note card and am immediately connected to the grand vision I have that keeps me going.

“Do the same thing: Put your major goals into your phone, on the front of your computer screen and in your purse or wallet. All throughout the day, especially when the going gets tough, read over those major goals and remind yourself of the great vision that you have for your life. When you make it a priority to never lose sight of your major goals, there is nothing that can permanently hold you back.”

What are your goals? What do you hope to achieve in 2017? What do you hope to accomplish by the time you retire? What are your hopes for the ranch after you’re gone and the next generation is running the business? Write these down and list the steps you need to take to make it happen!

The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of or Penton Agriculture.

Real story of U.S. beef most favorable

beef filet

Fake news doesn’t happen just in politics –- agriculture has its fair share, too. That reality was on full display recently by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) around its new report, “Less Beef, Less Carbon.”

NRDC’s press release explained that: “Less Beef, Less Carbon…shows that between 2005 and 2014, we reduced our per capita consumption of beef by 19%.”  The report contends that because Americans ate less beef between 2005 and 2014, we have effectively “avoided the equivalent of the annual tailpipe emissions of approximately 39 million cars.”

The report’s slant shouldn’t be surprising. After all, the agency contends that, “Raising animals for food puts an enormous strain on the health of our communities and the natural environment.” The National Cattlemen’s Beef Assn. responded appropriately to the report, noting the connection between beef consumption and automobile emissions is “fallacious.”

More troubling, though, is the general ambiguity regarding the underlying cause for declining beef consumption in the U.S. There’s no meaningful explanation provided within the report as to why beef consumption has declined.  As such, it intentionally leaves the door open for errant interpretations. 

The report is correct: per capita beef consumption did indeed decline between 2005 and 2014. Consumption, as measured by U.S. Department of Agricutlure (the source of NRDC’s data), reflects disappearance when accounting for total production, imports and exports, and ending stocks. Stated another way, consumption is merely a measurement of sales volume, and consumption fell during those years largely resulting from declining beef production.

But that measure doesn’t give us insight into the mind of the consumer and thus doesn’t reflect what’s really going on in the marketplace. That requires some assessment of beef demand -- the real economic reflection of consumer perception. Demand is a function of both supply AND price. In other words, even with smaller supply, if consumers aren’t favorable toward beef, there’ll be little pricing power to clear the market.

Consumer purchases are never made in isolation (true for any product). That is, the decision to purchase is based upon consumer evaluation of the relative price / value relationship, and that typically involves comparison among competing products (in this case most often pork and poultry).  That is, consumers appraise price versus assigned value across various options and then make a decision based on the outcome of that assessment.

Beef’s pricing power has been nothing short of remarkable in recent years. The beef industry has enjoyed an incredible run and stretched retail prices to new all-time records. But if consumer perception and subsequent beef demand hadn’t improved, those higher prices couldn’t have been passed to consumers. They would have opted out from purchasing beef in favor of other alternatives.

What’s more, the relative strength and sustainability for any business or industry depends upon its ability to generate revenue.  That critical measure (along with profitability) is more important than simply measuring sales volume (in this instance, consumption).  Stated another way, a business or an industry can produce and sell lots of volume, but if can’t generate money from those sales, then there’s inherent weakness in the model. That’s why equity analysts are always concerned about a company’s topline (revenue) growth and year-over-year sales comps.

To that end, per capita beef spending in 2010 was approximately $261, in 2015 that measure reached $340! Meanwhile, the U.S. population was about 309- vs 321-million persons in 2010 and 2015, respectively. Doing some quick math, that means U.S. beef spending increased nearly $28.5 billion in just five years. The beef industry has proven its ability to successfully capture new spending at an increasing rate. 

NRDC conveniently ignores those facts; rather, the organization clings to squishy, anti-beef explanations to fit its activist narrative.  Sujatha Bergen, NRDC policy specialist, tried to explain declining consumption as a ‘welcome side effect’ of a growing anti-beef sentiment in the U.S. –- wanting us to believe consumers are choosing NOT to eat beef because it allegedly harms the planet.

That’s disingenuous: disparaging general consumer perception of the U.S. beef industry is just plain wrong. The real story is a favorable one for the beef industry. That’s the result of committed work during the past 20 years, resulting in an industry that’s increasingly responsive to consumer demands. As a result, consumers continue to reward the beef industry for their efforts with their dollars. In the end, that’s the only measure of business success that matters.


Max Armstrong offers his look at news and commentary for the Midwest noting that Ford wants to cut its workforce by 10% to boost profits. Planting progress made a significant move to catch up despite poor weather, though there are states that are behind including Ohio, Indiana, Missouri and Arkansas. And Max shares the story of a car dealer that went the extra mile for a customer.

Midwest Digest is a twice-daily audio feature produced by Max Armstrong, offering news and commentary from across the Midwest.