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Janice Neitzel headshot

Consumer Demand for Grass-fed Will Rise in 2012

By Janice Neitzel

It’s a new year and a good time to check the pulse of consumer interest in animal welfare certified foods. Food industry trend watcher, the Hartman Group, cites grass-fed meat, healthy fats, real butter, cage-free eggs, heirloom marbled pork, and the family dinner as growing trends in 2012 and beyond. On the other hand, “naturally raised” meat, processed factory cheese, egg whites, margarine, and The Other White Meat are on their way out, as described in its recent report “Looking Ahead: Food Culture 2012.

Among consumers, concern about their meat’s origins is growing, according to Carolyn Dimitri, an associate professor of Food Studies at New York University. Though factory-farmed meat is still a big seller, some shoppers are willing to pay two or three times as much to guarantee that the animals they eat had ample living space and sufficient time outdoors, were raised on organic or foraged food (or both), and were not fed antibiotics or growth hormones.

Consumers do not like pig gestation crates or battery cages and want to know if food animals were raised in cages or crates. According to a 2011 Kansas State University study, data was collected on pork and egg products described as having mandatory labeling indicating the use OR lack of crates and cages. The study results show consumers will likely pay up to 20% more for meat with a mandatory label showing cage and crate animal welfare information. Women and younger consumers indicated even higher demand for this labeling.

In December 2011, Forbes published an article on Quick Service Restaurants “going greener” and highlighted Chipotle using hormone-free and no-antibiotic meats as an important part of Chipotle’s outstanding 2011 50%+ return on investment. The Forbes article went on to cite a recent study showing that a whopping 75% of American citizens want the U.S. government to restrict antibiotics fed to farm animals and to conclude that the future will certainly be tougher for restaurants not willing to make these changes now.

Sustainable Solutions Group guides top food industry decision makers to source higher welfare meat, dairy, and eggs using an innovative roadmap approach for more responsible sourcing over time. Using consumer demand as a driver and with world-famous Dr. Temple Grandin as a primary advisor, we bring attention to the benefits of sourcing healthier, higher welfare meat, dairy, and eggs and supporting farmers with higher welfare practices.
For more information, contact Sustainable Solutions Group at info@SustSolutions.com or 708-485-5183. Or check out our website.

[Image credit: MyEyeSees, Flickr]

Janice Neitzel headshot

As CEO of <a href="http://www.SustSolutions.com">Sustainable Solutions Group</a>, Ms. Janice Neitzel uses a data-driven approach in leading top food industry decision-makers in answering consumer demand for higher animal welfare meat, dairy, and eggs. Her clients range from international to North American to regional food companies, including food manufacturers, retailers, grocery, private brand, quick service, casual dining and fast casual restaurant chains. Ms. Neitzel has an MBA in Sustainable Management from the Presidio Graduate School and is a Certified Group Facilitator. With Dr. Temple Grandin as a primary advisor, Ms. Neitzel leads decision-makers to consensus on supply chain Animal Welfare and Antibiotics Policies, for a more sustainable food supply chain.

Read more stories by Janice Neitzel