What is the impact of the Veganism trend on the Meat Industry with the rising tide of challenges related to business and environmental concerns? Here’s what John Bruck, Protein Category Manager at Chef Middle East, said about the challenges that the meat industry is facing in the market and the potential business opportunities and strategies.
What are the challenges for the meat industry with the rising trend of veganism?
The meat industry has been losing the public relations fight with Vegan lifestyle for a while now. Studies show, that lean beef as part of your diet provides many vitamins and nutrients that are deficient in a plant-based diet (Vitamin B 12 and iron are best absorbed into the body from beef in your diet). Studies have also shown that a meat-based diet verses a plant-based diet does not increase life expectancy. The bottom line is that vegan lifestyle advocates have out-marketed the healthy omnivorous lifestyle practiced for most of mankind’s existence. Meat advocates have to do a better job of educating the public about the importance of meat in a healthy balanced diet.
What is the importance of a good quality meat in the current market?
It is very important as most consumers are looking for quality in their dining experience. Savvy meat consumers want to know the source of their protein and most have preconceived quality assumptions based on the reputation of the breed or origin of meat. There have been successful marketing campaigns that have enhanced breed recognition. In an American study, 92% knew the Angus beef brand, with over 95% of those knowing it having a positive recognition.
Any innovative solutions and products would keep people interested in the meat industry?
There are definitely environmental and health trends that meat-eaters are showing interest in. Sustainability and humane treatment of livestock is an important growing part of consumers knowledge base. End users and culinary professionals have shown a willingness to pay a premium for these attributes. Animals that are raised in a natural or an organic way, limiting hormones and antibiotics in the animals diet is another trend savvy consumers that are concerned about the healthy aspects of eating meat are very concerned with.
How can the meat industry convince the people of the benefit of having meat in their diet?
As I mentioned, the meat industry has let the vegetarian lifestyle seize the narrative on health. The meat industry has to start doing a better job of getting information out through marketing campaigns of the benefits of a balanced diet that includes proteins and less carbs. People enjoy having quality meat in their diets, our industry has to do a better job of alleviating the guilt due to lack of consumer knowledge that meat isn’t a guilty pleasure.
What can be the solution to offset the people who are concerned about the meats industry effect on the environment?
Once again we have done a poor job of defending the environmental impact of raising meat versus the impact that farming also has on the environment. Land and soil erosion from crop planting and harvesting is a big problem. Studies also show that 58% of animals in a field do not survive the harvest. It’s simply a lack of good consumer marketing that can stem the negative flow of information put out by the vegetarian industry.