OSU Food Demand Survey Evaluates 2013 COOLTue, 09 Dec 2014 18:16:08 CST
The US Trade Representative office announced on the Friday after Thanksgiving the Obama Administration had decided to appeal to the World Trade Organization ruling against the second Country of Origin Labeling law that the US has issued in recent years. The COOL policy established in 2013 required fresh meat packages of beef, pork and lamb to labeled with where the animal was born, raised and processed. Recently the WTO ruled that this latest rule is still out-of-compliance with global trade rules and is harmful to both Mexico's and Canada's livestock industries.
Kansas State University Livestock and Meat Marketing Assistant Professor Dr. Glynn Tonsor has been working with Jayson Lusk of Oklahoma State University. In the monthly OSU Food Demand Survey, they looked at the 2013 COOL rule. Tonsor said this is the only known academic resource that speak specific to the 2013 version of COOL and the survey also looked at what demand impact may or may not have been with the adjustments made to the rule.
The 2013 COOL rule is when the industry began designating where animal's were born, raised and slaughtered. This November survey confirmed what had been found in past work in that consumers still don't know the information is listed on package and they don't really care. Tonsor said the public was generally unaware the meat industry labeling existed in showing where an animal was born, raised and slaughtered aspects.
The study also looked at the public's willingness to pay for a ribeye based on where an animal was born, raised and processed. Tonsor said they found if an animal is labeled born in Canada and raised and slaughtered in the US versus a product that is labeled born and raised in Canada and slaughtered in the US, the public found no difference. He said that is important to note because the 2013 mCOOL rule added more specificity and more cost for labeling, yet there is no offsetting demand benefit.
Radio Oklahoma Network Farm Director Ron Hays featured Tonsor on the Beef Buzz feature. Click or tap on the LISTEN BAR below to listen to today's Beef Buzz.
While consumers show some interest in the origin of their meat, there are other things they are more interested in knowing. Tonsor said if you ask some if they want to know more about where their meat comes from, its hard to say no to that. He said if you put consumers in a forced trade off environment asking consumer if they want safely information, price information or origin information, then origin information quickly goes to the bottom. He said this recent OSU survey is consistent with that.
While there only limited observation information from a research standpoint on how consumers responded to the 2013 rule, Tonsor said the bottomline conclusion is similar to past work conducted on the 2009 rule.
Click here for the results of the OSU Food Demand Survey.
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