Dr. Tom Field Shares His Vision for the Beef Industry at the Oklahoma Cattlemen's ConventionFri, 22 Jul 2016 14:53:25 CDT
It is all about attitude, claims Dr. Tom Field of the University of Nebraska, when it comes to dealing with change in the industry. Although change is nothing new, Field says that beef producers work in tradition and it is understandable why people would be hesitant to address an evolving consumer base. Dr. Field says the change the industry is facing is not about giving up its mission or core values, but rather improving and advancing protocols, practices and technologies.
“We have a premium product,” Field said, “so let’s behave like we have a premium product.”
According to Dr. Field, even during challenging times in the marketplace, consumers will always find ways to enjoy premium experiences. He says that while we should be careful not to let prices get much higher than they already are for the product, consumers are sticking with the industry - hungry for beef and willing to pay for it.
The best feature about the product he says, is the fact that it is available fresh. On the other hand, though, he says there are several areas that are lacking and uninspiring. These areas include, packaging, developing quicker access and preparation, even increased spending for promotion.
“When I look at other companies and their marketing and R&D investment compared to the beef industry, a dollar is like a participation ribbon. We’re participating with that, but we’re not moving,” Field said. “I’m on the high-end compared to most folks. I sure ought to be putting five to ten bucks a head back into my industry. Certainly, at least two to three bucks.”
Dr. Field asserts that change is imperative to stay ahead in the market with consumers that are never consistent. However, he clarified that change must be done collectively. His opinion is that producers need to think and work like artisans crafting a premium product, and consider how it fits into the dietary choices of consumers. He pointed out that although the consumer base is very segmented, there is also tremendous opportunity for innovation within that segmentation.
To listen to Dr. Tom Field’s conversation with RON Farm Director Ron Hays and AFR’s Sam Knipp, click the LISTEN BAR below.
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