By Laura Zinger
I am a millennial. From this, we can safely assume I am a huge consumer of social media and coffee, and I feverishly Google everything which crosses my mind.
But, I think we should establish the fact I am not an average millennial. I grew up eating deer and selling custom hunting knives made by my grandfather at hunting expos. So, keep my balanced view in mind when reading this – I need to see more meat on my feed.
Before anyone says anything, let me explain. I consume a lot of information on social media. Yes, I have a presence on LinkedIn, but it is in my professional life. Personally, I use Instagram too much, Facebook minimally, Snapchat moderately, Twitter occasionally and I’d die to save my pins on Pinterest. I also work with just about every animal protein company in the U.S. as part of my role at Urner Barry.
So why don’t I see these brands and their amazing products across my accounts? I am a consumer who consumes meat, so let me see more of it.
Let’s talk about what I do see as I rot my brain with endless scrolling. High-end artisanal meat delivery services I can’t afford. Organic produce. Let’s not forget meal kits – I see endless varieties of meal kits ranging from family-friendly, ketogenic, ready-to-eat kid’s meals and of course, a ton of plant-based meal kits. This brings me right to my next point. Plant-based is crushing the marketing game when it comes to the millennial and younger generations. It’s increasing market share proves it.
Everywhere I look, I am flooded with content telling me how much healthier a plant-based diet is, better for the planet and better for me. I see recipes, ads, blogs and celebrity chefs telling me if I would just stop eating meat I can save my health, complexion and the world – no pressure.
But, knowing what I do, I know this information can often be misleading or even inaccurate. I believe a person’s diet should be based on their own beliefs, health needs, values and preferences. Not on great marketing.
But, here’s the thing. Great marketing really, really works.
When I was a kid, some of the most memorable campaigns were around animal protein. Think, ‘The incredible, edible egg’ of 1976, ‘Pork, the other white meat’ of 1987 and ‘Beef. It’s what’s for Dinner’ of 1992. My personal favorite is from more recent times – Hillshire Farms, ‘GO MEAT!’ of 2007. I still sing it.
Did I eat all of these things every day? No, I ate venison, thanks, Dad. But, I wanted to eat them, and I was acutely aware of what other Americans had on the dinner table. And heck, this was the point.
My point is, younger people need to hear more from and connect with the companies keeping the planet fed. Now, don’t get me wrong, some brands do a great job of this. I see you, Certified Angus Beef.
The industry has several initiatives designed to address and support this. I know, I know, but I am saying as someone who truly looks for the brands I have grown to love as clients and friends, I want more.
I want to see celebrity chefs name drop a large brand while they lay a steak down on the grill. I want to see more branded chicken taco recipes in my feed. I want to see a hysterical Twitter battle over which cut of steak is the best.
I want to see informational blogs about the incredible nutritional density of animal products in the top Google results. I think we can do those things.
Now, I want you to do me a favor. I promise, it won’t take long. Open a tab on an internet browser. Head on over to Google. Search “best meat companies.” See what comes up.
Best meat companies shows a ton of online meat brands, which are all awesome. But, where are the titans of the meat world?
Now search “best plant-based companies.” Let this sink in.
This shows lists, articles, pictures, videos and stock values – the full Monty. I want to see our biggest and best producers, as well as processors, absolutely dominating the search results with articles, information and rankings.
I want my friends, family and children to know meat is a healthy, delicious choice and to know who the players are making eating it possible.
I want to make sure if people choose a plant-based diet, they do so knowing all of the facts about the alternative. I want them to see how hard those folks work to create safe and plentiful foods for the world in the most humane and efficient ways possible. And, I want them to appreciate all of this about meat, then go out and buy some.
Lauren Zinger is the manager of territory sales and host of the Market Digest podcast at Urner Barry. This article was originally published on meatingplace.com on March 2, 2021.