Communicating with the Consumer in Animal Agriculture

Dairy and livestock producers are striving to meet consumer demand for greater transparency. Their messages on farm origin, animal welfare and sustainability need to resonate with consumers. What technologies are needed to achieve traceable data from the farm to the retailer and the consumer?

Bruce Stewart-BrownSVP of Technical Services & Innovation at Perdue Farms reveals his thoughts about labelling and how the industry can build more trust with consumers. 

What labelling messages resonate with consumers when they’re deciding what to buy, and how has this changed post-pandemic?
Consumers are increasingly paying more attention to their holistic health and becoming more interested in learning how the food they consume contributes to their healthfulness goals. This means we get more and more questions about how we raise our animals, particularly their diets. Two of Perdue’s leadership positions in animal care and raising practices that consumers have embraced through the pandemic and beyond are Organic and Free-Range.  We are constantly researching how to maximize these benefits to our animals; for example, leveraging RFID technology to study how our chickens utilize their pastures – and then sharing that story with consumers in a simple way.

How do we tell the more complex, and difficult stories about livestock and dairy production to the consumer? Is the industry ready for complete consumer transparency?
If consumers are asking questions, you need to answer them. If you are embarrassed about the answer, you need to fix that. We are finding that consumers are understanding of a less-than-perfect answer to their questions as long as you have a plan for improvement, and you are honest (and transparent) about your journey to get there. Transparency is one of the four parts of our Commitments to Animal Care program. Visuals, like video and infographics, are very helpful in illustrating the more complicated elements of our supply chain. Maybe most importantly, give tours. Take the time to show people what you do…in person.

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