Archives for December 2014

Top Headlines that Shaped 2014

Top Headlines that Shaped 2014

As we pause to reflect on the year behind us, those of us in the meat industry look for the key takeaways that can help us in the coming year. In many ways, 2014 was like the year it followed:   shrinking supplies, rising prices and plenty of challenges for the meat industry from multiple fronts. As we look back across the last 12 months, 5 major themes stand out – themes that will continue to have an impact on the U.S. meat industry:

  1. Fresh meat prices skyrocketed in 2014, making bold headlines throughout the year. 1The average retail price of beef and pork increased 9%, and the average retail price of chicken increased 4%. Despite these surging prices, consumer demand is staying strong.
  2. Four years of severe drought have created dramatic shifts in the geography of the live cattle supply. This issue has weighed heavily on the minds of everyone in the fresh meat supply channel. Earlier this year, Bloomberg covered the drought in California, and Meatingplace provided an in-depth report on the drought’s considerable industry implications. And still, we wait for rain….
  3. The buzz around antibiotic resistance continues to grow, fueled by the late 2013 release of the CDC’s Antibiotics/Antimicrobials Threat Report. Many consumer advocate groups are adamant in their call for the FDA to ban the use of antibiotics in livestock. The need for clear, factual communication with consumers about why and how antibiotics are used couldn’t be more important.
  4. Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDv) took over the fresh pork industry in 2014, threatening pork supplies and suffocating producer’s profits. In September, the USDA granted Zoetis a conditional license to develop a PEDv vaccine, injecting hope into this grim animal health issue.
  5. Acquisition and consolidation isn’t new to the fresh meat industry, but the magnitude of the deals certainly continues to grow. This year, Tyson Fresh Meats won the bidding war against Pilgrim’s Pride for the Hillshire brands, following Shuanghui’s Smithfield acquisition in 2013. Who’s next?

So what does your 2014 Top 5 list look like? What will make meat industry headlines in 2015? I would love to hear your comments!

A toast to a New Year and new opportunities for the meat industry!

1FreshLook Marketing: For the 52-weeks ending on October 26, 2014, compared to the prior year.

Going Beyond Design

these-ancient-writing-utensils-may-actually-help-to-keep-your-fragile-mind-intactOne thing I always think about is: What makes a great designer?

Could it be the amazing typography? Or is it the excellent layout skills? Or perhaps it is the ability to design different styles catered to different industries and niches. I believe all of these things are key to helping one grow as a designer. But if we look past the swatch books and the Photoshop, we discover another crucial part – being able to write.

Writing is a large part of what designers and art directors do on a daily basis. We write letters and proposals, send emails to clients and develop content for websites and blogs. Writing helps you expand your skill set and helps broaden your capabilities to set you apart, not only as someone that can make things look pretty, but someone who can communicate past the visuals.

Being able to write also builds confidence. By writing, you become more knowledgeable in that field and have the confidence to give tips and tutorials, eventually becoming a mentor to others. It also becomes valuable when working directly with copywriters.

I love the fact that I work at a company that gives employees the opportunity to exercise their writing skills, no matter what position you’re in. Here is a quote that I came across that I feel truly hits the nail on the head:

When you write, you share
When you share, you help
When you help, you make the world better
When the world becomes better, living becomes easier
Living easily means more happy people
Happy people are inspired people
When people are inspired, they share
And what they want to share, they write