Nicely done, beef. You’re still king with consumers
Last year, I publicly spoke out against fake meats for the first time. I had been invited to speak at a producer event in Nebraska, after a packer (that I won’t name) backed out at the last minute.
This packer had been invited to speak at this meeting about their new investment in plant-based protein, and while packers have always invested in protein — operating beef, poultry and pork — this time it felt different.
This investment felt like a slap in the face, but really, do you blame them? Imagine the overhead, the liability, the training, the security and oversight that comes with harvesting an animal from start to finish. It makes sense they would be looking for a protein source that could be mixed in a vat with much less risk and labor needed to get the job done.
As a business person, I get it.
As a beef producer, I wonder what that means for us?
And that’s exactly what I tackled in that first speech and have done many times over ever since. From events like Alltech’s The One to podcasts with small, niche health-conscious audiences, everybody is asking the same question, “What is it about fake meats that has everybody so riled up?”
Here is what I think the crux of the issue is: The industry isn’t afraid of the competition; we have always competed against other proteins in the meat case after all; however, these folks are playing by different rules where mud-slinging is the norm and lying about beef and pork seems to be their model for scaling demand.
And that’s where I think it becomes time for the beef industry to push back.
The Beef Checkoff accomplishes that in an ad campaign now going viral on social media.
In a series of photos and videos featuring delectable cuts of beef, the “Nicely done, beef.” campaign highlights what beef does so well in contrast to some of today’s most popular talking about alternative proteins.
• “Nicely done, beef. You’ve proven that meat substitutes are just that. Substitutes.”
• “Nicely done, beef.” You’ve always been what’s for dinner.”
• “Nicely done, beef. You’re the only nutritious meal people don’t lie about liking.”
• “Nicely done, beef. You taste like beef with only one ingredient.”
• “Nicely done, beef. You provide the benefits of a protein bar. Without tasting like one.”
• “Nicely done, beef. You give people a reason to use the drooling emoji.”
I wrote about this campaign in 2018 and was excited about it then, but like a fine wine, this one continues to get better with age, succinctly saying exactly what we are all thinking anyway but in a pretty package that’s worth sharing on social media.
Some might not like the snarky approach to these, but considering the onslaught of plant-based, anti-meat rhetoric that we continue to see spewed from the media, celebrities and politicians, I think it’s more than prudent for livestock producers to tell their stories.
As we wade through the good and bad on these discussions, we must remember this — beef, and even pork and chicken, too, have incredible stories to share in regards to nutrition, taste and environment! We can certainly stand on our own merits and perhaps we should stop giving these plant-based companies such a great platform every time we counter their falsehoods.
Oh, and by the way, I’m slated to speak at a conference next week, right after a packer will present on the future of plant-based proteins. I’ll let you know how it goes. Stay tuned.
For information about my agricultural speaking topics, visit http://www.amandaradke.com. ❖
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