As Beef Industry Explores the Marketing Benefits of Traceability, BQA's Potential is Starting to Gain AttentionTue, 30 Jul 2019 10:18:28 CDT
According to National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Jennifer Houston, it is important for beef producers to understand that today’s consumer is curious about their food and how it is produced. This is true about all food products, but particularly beef as consumers are interested in the welfare of the livestock and the industry’s efforts to remain sustainable from a health and environmental standpoint. In a recent conversation with Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays during the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association Convention, Houston, who is owner/operator of East Tennessee Livestock Center, remarked on her belief that American consumers simply want to know and understand the whole story behind the production of the food they eat, including beef.
“They want to know where my beef comes from, how it’s raised, where it’s raised, how it’s taken care of. I think as we go through the next few years - if I look in my crystal ball - I see a lot of this coming together. But I don’t think it should be something that’s scary,” she said, referring to the growing call for a national traceability system. “I think for the most part, all of us are doing these things already.”
By that, Houston clarifies that beef producers are already doing many of the things that the industry and consumers have defined as being “sustainable.” For generations, producers have practiced being good stewards of the land, taken responsible care of their livestock and have kept accurate records of their businesses. Houston says in order to satisfy consumers’ demands for transparency, though, it may take a little more documentation and the industry being a bit more proactive in its efforts to share that story of sustainability with them. Houston says having a traceability system in place might help with that by tying all the various facets of production together. However, this is one issue she says the industry is not unified on yet and further discussions must take place so all stakeholders have the opportunity to build a consensus. What might be another option, though, is something that already exists - the Beef Quality Assurance program. While this program, designed to raise the level of livestock care and welfare, was never meant to be consumer facing, Houston says, it actually holds great potential as a marketing tool that might appeal to sustainably conscious consumers.
“I think BQA will see expansion. That’s one of the opportunities I see out there. You may see that on a package or a menu someday,” she said. “It certainly has meaning on the producer side and I think it’s going to gain meaning on the consumer side.”
Listen to Houston and Hays’ full conversation about how the beef industry is tackling the best way to appeal to modern consumer interests, on today’s Beef Buzz.
The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network and is a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR below for today's show and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.
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