What’s Next for 2018

Written by Dennis Sun

As we are finishing up the last of the Christmas cookies and candy, we’re thinking about a new diet to go along with getting more exercise for the new year. We’ll get to those new plans as soon as the cookies and candy are all gone.

As usual this time of year, we’re also all thinking ahead to the coming year and wondering what cattle, sheep, hay and crop prices will be. I’ve given up predicting prices for commodities as, after 50 years, I have a worse record of predicting than most weather people. But it's fun to read and hear what others have to say is going to happen in 2018.

It seems things changing more and faster these days. I guess it’s because everyone is always holding a smartphone in their hand. All information is instant, as is getting or buying what we want. Getting new clothes, food for tomorrow’s dinner, a new car, gifts for someone or just doing business can all happen in no time over your smartphone. A conversation is one line in a text or a statement in just a tweet. A visit is waving hello to a neighbor.

As with everything, there is good in the new ways. As I mentioned above, online food sales are booming, and in those meal kits delivered to your door, we find beef. The beef checkoff is working closely with those providing the meal kits and the consumers ordering them. They realize that not being able to see the meat product at the meat counter can be an issue, so in explaining the meat product in the meal kit, they have to use sensory words and adjectives to entice consumers with beef in their food descriptions. It is sort of like selling beer in an advertisement during a football game on television. Whatever beer they are selling looks to be the best there is. The same thing goes for beef – it’s what’s for dinner, you know.

But, as with the bottle of beer, the beef product has to be consistently great quality or the consumer will drop it as a food item. To ensure a good experience with the beef product, step-by-step instructions for cooking are included in the meal kit, along with all the nutrition information, safe handling instructions and expiration date information. Beef works great for not only hamburger and steaks but also hot dishes, stir fry and kebabs. These meal kits are designed to be prepared in 30 to 40 minutes.   

I guess we all grew up with meal kits. We just didn’t know it. It was called Mom’s imagination, and this is just the modern version.

Whatever meat we raise, whether its beef, lamb, pork or something else, in raising that product, we need to be aware that it may end up in someone’s meal kit. It also needs to be the best quality we can produce so the consumer has a great experience enjoying their dinner and will purchase it again. We have to keep the quality of our meat product in mind the whole time it is in our control, and we have to still keep quality in mind beyond the time we drop the gate on the truck at shipping. It’s our future.