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Meeting consumer needs: what consumers want from their food and pork

Paul Kalmbach, Jr., President with Kalmbach Feeds, spoke to attendees at the Annual Four Star Pork Industry Conference held in Muncie, Indiana in September about consumer trends and their impact on the pork industry and what producers can do on their farms to meet consumer and industry needs.

Kalmbach challenged the audience to think about their farm and the pork industry over the next five to 20 years. He shared research indicating key consumer trends in food.

Consumers want:

Options. Consumers want to trend into something, and they want to trend out of something. They might do that for a day, a week or a month. Recognizable options are keto, paleo, pescatarian or wanting more meat or less meat. The consumer is looking for choice, and they are doing more research and thinking about what they’re eating more than they ever have before.

Transparency. Consumers want transparency in the supply chain and in their food. They want to know where their food came from and who produced it. They want labels to be simpler and ingredients they can pronounce. For example, the poultry industry is adding QR codes on packages that point back to the farm and introduce the grower who raised the chicken. This is designed to create a personal connection between the consumer and their farmer. There are an estimated 50 million backyard hens today which account for approximately 15% of the US hen population, and 30% are in urban areas. There’s no better traceability than an egg laid in your backyard going into your skillet.

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