As producers of food products, the biggest job farmers have is catering to the concerns and wishes of the consumer market. If their products are not meeting their needs, they will simply find an option that will suit their tastes. There are many options of products out there. This means farmers are finding ways to hit many niche markets. However, the tastes of consumers are always evolving over time. It is a moving target. Hitting that target takes a lot of time and research.
Researching consumer demand for food products is no easy task and cannot be done overnight. As the tastes of customers change, you must find commonality in those changes. Anne-Marie Roerink is a food researcher. She has conducted her study called, “The Power of Meat”, for 14 years. She released her annual findings right before consumers were buying up everything in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. She does this study because she finds the food sector, “fascinating.”
Her study involves yearly polling of around 1,500 consumers about their meat purchasing habits. She delves deep into what motivates the purchases they make. She looks at their answers from the grocery store to the dinner table. Her goal is to be able to help the meat industry better move their products from the farm to the fork.
Recently, Roerink addressed cattle producers at the American Hereford Association Brand Marketing Summit. She told these beef producers that much of what they need to do is engage with their customer base. Tell the story of beef. As millennials and younger generations are moving into a stronger consumer position, it is not just about burgers. There are many convenient and healthy options in other cuts of beef, that are not difficult to prepare.
Roerink says the next generation of consumers is very proactive about knowing where their food is coming from. She says it is up to farmers to meet that need. It is the best way to advance their products in the future. Consumers who are seeing that producer transparency, are developing a “brand-loyalty.” She said it is no longer about money, but a “currency of trust.”
Producers are being handed the tools they need to succeed in an ever-changing marketplace. They just need to be proactive and share their story.