What Do Consumers Want?

Animal Agriculture Alliance consumer panel

The Animal Agriculture Alliance held its annual stakeholders conference in early May in Washington DC. This is always an excellent conference that tackles a myriad of hot topics and important issues for poultry and livestock, as well as agriculture in general.

This year, organizers did something a little different to kick things off. They pulled together a panel of seven grocery shoppers from the DC area and asked them a few questions about food and agriculture. The kicker? The shoppers initially didn’t know they would be sitting in front of an audience full of farmers, ranchers, and agriculture representatives.

The results were fascinating!  As Hannah Thompson, communications director for the Animal Agriculture Alliance, wrote in her weekly blog post for Meatingplace.com this week, “One of the biggest takeaways for me is that there is no “the consumer” – while it’s easy to make generalities, each individual grocery shopper has their own priorities and opinions. Even among our panel of seven there were distinct opinions on buying organic, wanting to see more of the slaughter process and which grocery stores were best.

Thompson also noted that while there was little consensus about food and farming from the panel, the group did skew on the very skeptical side about our food system. According to Thompson, “Because of all the conflicting information they hear about food, they are left skeptical of most claims and information sources. In a word association question, one panelist responded that “natural” was “not necessarily a good thing,” while another called the term free range “bogus.”

The good news is, these panelists are hungry for information about where their food comes from and want to connect with more farmers via social media.

So what does this mean for turkey farmers and our industry? It means that you must continue to put yourselves “out there” in whatever ways are comfortable for you.

  • Do you love to write? Then our Minnesota Turkey blog might be just the ticket and we’re looking for regular bloggers.
  • Do you love social media? Then think about a Facebook page for your farm.
  • Do you like snapping quick photos or videos on your phone? Then Instagram is an ideal place to share those images.
  • Not into social media? Then think about joining Minnesota Turkey’s speakers bureau to get connected with civic organizations and school classrooms.

You can view the full panel discussion from the Animal Agriculture Alliance here – starting at about the 4:38 mark. It’s well worth a look-see!

And if any of the ideas above sound interesting to you, please feel free to contact Lara Durben, MTGA Communications Director, at 763-682-2171 or ldurben@minnesotaturkey.com for more information.

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