Consumers are confused about what is healthy and what is sustainable, but it’s clear they are actively looking for options that make them feel like they are making responsible choices that are better for their well-being.
In an August 2022 report by NielsonIQ on alternative proteins that included meat and dairy, health and nutrition ranked as the top reasons that consumers are eating more alternatives on a regular or occasional basis.
Environmental impact plays a significant part in alternative meat consumption, too, with consumers saying they avoid animal-based products because they are associated with unsustainable practices, and they worry a plant-based diet is not enough because of unsustainable plant production.
Consumers are being inundated with conflicting messages about the health of their food on a continuous basis. Even the experts disagree and change their minds. It would be impossible to play defense against the volume of “healthy” and “sustainable” claims being made, and I don’t think it would be productive to enter that fray.
But we do need a better offense if we want to inform consumers about the benefits of production agriculture and the progress American producers are making toward conservation in the U.S. It starts with helping producers understand that the conversation is happening without them if they’re not willing to engage.
In the most recent State of Sustainable Ag Report by Trust In Food and Field to Market, just 1 in 3 producers agree that consumers and food companies have a right to know the management practices they use on their farms and ranches. If we can’t feed consumer demand for information on sustainable production systems, then they’ll assume that claims vilifying production agriculture are true.
Consumers are hungry for more information. In the same Nielson study, Regenerative Agriculture ranked high in consumers interest in exploring more sustainable food with 70% saying they have tried or are willing to try foods grown regeneratively, more than any other production system, such as vertical farming or lab-grown meat.
Consumers want to do the right thing for their health, their families and the climate. Farmers want to do the right thing for their land, their businesses and the next generation. We have a unique opportunity in time to align the two by helping farmers tell their stories.
Have a great farmer story to tell? Contact me and let us help you.