The future of beef - Consumer issues and demand

US - Although formerly somewhat distant from many producer conversations, the vested interest of consumers is now a reality in the beef business. There simply is no business unless the consumer is involved in the formula for the future.
calendar icon 10 November 2006
clock icon 2 minute read
Perhaps one doesn't really like to admit it, but most of yesterday's conversations usually were between producers. Buying bulls or replacement heifers and the subsequent marketing of the offspring was a discussion of producers' likes and dislikes, not consumer desires.

The ability of cows and bulls to live and produce in a multitude of production environments led to the necessity of selection for adaptability. Cows and bulls were in an environment that had to meet the critical eye of the owner or manager. Hopefully, the environment mustered an arsenal of production traits that equated to efficient and profitable beef production.

The consumer was present in the discussion, but very distantly. The full calf rush would come and every calf would sell eventually. Well, those days are changing. The day may come, or perhaps is here, that some may not sell, which is a scary thought.

Writing in “Consumer Issues and Demand,” published by the American Agricultural Economics Association's online Choices magazine (http://www.choicesmagazine.org, Volume 21, No. 3, 2006), Helen Jensen indicates there are several very real impacts for small and midsized operations that loom in the future. The changing demand by consumers is changing beef production.

Four factors are driving the change. There is an increased income level with dual-income families and related lifestyle. There are marked changes in obesity and associated health concerns, and costs. There will be a slowdown in population growth resulting in an older North American population that's more ethnically diverse. Finally, there is a noticeable change in how markets distribute and sell food.

Source: livestockroundup.net
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