It’s Not a Vegetable
For those of us in the meat industry, the last four or five months have been a roller coaster ride with most of the ride going downward. Feeders and producers have really been feeling the blues lately.
The summer video sale season has started, and most were pleased with yearling and feeder calf prices. Cull bulls are up, but cull cows are not as good as they should be.
The packers are taking advantage of high beef prices and are processing as many cattle as they can. This should help to get rid of the backlog of finished cattle caused by processing plants being shut down.
We all wish the lamb market was better. World issues and missing the Easter season did not help lamb producers.
It doesn’t matter what meat we raise or produce, we have somewhat neglected to listen to the consumer. Thank God we have a checkoff to help us keep in tune with our consumers. Consumers are changing their ways on how they buy their meats, as I mentioned in this column last week, but the reasons they give for changing or not changing are somewhat baffling.
Like produce and other grocery store items, more consumers are ordering their meat online. I read a poll the other day reflecting consumers’ reasons for why they would never want to order fresh beef online.
Twenty-two percent, the highest percentage, said they had concerns with the beef not being fresh. Seven percent had issues with expiration dates, and six percent had concerns with quality and cuts. Five percent thought the meat would go bad, and two percent had concerns with food safety and quantity, while one percent had concerns with the color of the meat.
Specifically, 56 percent of consumers report they would not buy fresh beef online. When asked why, picking out and seeing beef products in-person was still mentioned most, but a more in-depth look showed this is because consumers want to ensure the freshness, quality and exact specifications of the beef like they can at the grocery store. For those consumers who are already shopping online, these factors are not an issue.
The top five reasons consumers didn’t want to buy their groceries and meat online that 43 percent wanted to pick their own fresh produce and 46 percent wanted to pick their own fresh meats. While 34 percent didn’t want to pay delivery fees, 24 percent didn’t want to pay a subscription fee. Lastly, 22 percent said they were not able to get all of the items they needed.
This would be my top reason. I can go the grocery store for eggs and milk and come out with a full cart, especially if I’m hungry.
What did we learn from this poll? The word we heard over and over was “fresh.” The consumers wanted their produce and meat fresh. So much for aged meat, I guess.
Despite hearing the consumer is buying more fake meats and Burger King is telling the cattle which grass to graze, the consumer wants a good pork chop, lamb chop and beef steak. The checkoffs for these products are telling our story and explaining the low-carbon footprint they leave. Let the checkoffs do their work and help producers tell their true story.