A Millennial’s Two Cents on Meat Alternatives


I am a 90’s baby, loved and known by all as a “Millennial.” I quote the late Kurt Cobain, frontman for Nirvana, not only for the generational icon he is but because he said it best, he said it for all of us and at times he had us screaming it at the top of our lungs, “Here we are now — entertain us.”

Although Cobain’s quote is a generalization, it accurately reflects a Millennial’s expectation of the world at large, and this includes the grocery landscape. As a twenty-something consumer navigating the shopper’s journey, I find myself attracted to stores that combine a sense of entertainment with high-quality products to help elevate my grocery shopping experience. What our mothers thought of as a dreaded chore, we Millennials view as an opportunity to be engaged.

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Weather the Next Economic Storm with Strategic Planning

Those of us in the meat industry usually don’t have the luxury of taking time to contemplate our next move. Prior to joining Midan, I lived in the bullpen of a beef processing facility as well as regularly negotiated sales from my office on four wheels and my other office in the sky. From moving boxes to foodservice and filling containers destined for international ports, my “strategic plan” usually consisted of fulfilling orders one week at a time. The gratification of selling product consumes you and you constantly see-saw between being stressed and being on an adrenaline high to sell that next container NOW. Because at the end of the day, you are only as good as your last sale. For most of us, to hit the pause button and sit in a room to strategically map out the next sales cycle or the next six to 12 months is absurd. Who’s got time for that? Hey, we all know the holidays rule the sales cycle. If you know your core customers’ merchandising set for the quarter and you know your supply numbers and are priced just right, what more do we need to talk about?

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What We Can Learn from the Grassfed Movement: Amplify to Multiply

The Grassfed Movement has got it going on.

Recent Nielsen data tells the story of grassfed beef’s dramatic domestic growth: U.S. retail sales of labeled fresh grassfed beef grew from $17 million in 2012 to $272 million in 2016, doubling every year.

But beyond these impressive numbers, I recently saw firsthand how the commitment and passion of grassfed producers and processors are helping fuel this momentum when I attended the 2018 Grassfed Exchange in Rapid City, South Dakota. At this conference for regenerative producers and sustainable food supporters, more than 500 individuals from 41 states, four Canadian provinces, two Australian territories, New Zealand, England and Denmark gathered to talk about the future of grassfed beef.

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Tomorrow’s Meat Consumer: Are You Ready?

I recently had the honor of presenting at the 2018 World Meat Congress (WMC) in Dallas on June 1. Hosted by The International Meat Secretariat and the U.S. Meat Export Federation, WMC brought together more than 700 meat industry leaders from 40 countries to discuss the wide-ranging, complex issues impacting meat production across the globe.

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Top Six Meat Industry Trends

The Midan Team at the 2018 NAMI
Meat Industry Summit

There’s a saying in the Midan office: “What got us here, won’t get us there.” It’s a reminder that we need to keep our game sharp to compete in the ever-evolving meat industry. It was in that same vein that my partner Danette Amstein and I presented the top meat industry trends at the 2018 North American Meat Institute (NAMI) Meat Industry Summit in San Antonio in April. When the finish line is always moving, keeping your eye on these macro trends is one way to set yourself up for success in 2020 and beyond:

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Are You “Brand Safe”?


As a meat processor, you stake your reputation on the quality and safety of your products. You wouldn’t dream of letting meat leave your plant without following every safety precaution to the letter of the law. Unfortunately, many companies aren’t as careful about maintaining the safety of their brand. Although intangible, your brand reputation requires the same kind of stringent safeguards that protect your meat products.

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AMC 2018 Top 10

At Annual Meat Conference (AMC) 2018, digital dominated. How today’s meat consumers are using digital to plan, purchase and prepare meals was the unifying theme that coursed through nearly every session. As always, the Midan team was on the scene to sift through all the learnings and compile our annual list of top takeaways. See below for our most meaningful nuggets, with the influence of digital leading the pack.

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At Midan, What We Do Is Who We Are

danette-amstein's-feedlot

Danette often returns to her roots on her family’s cattle farm in Kansas.

Happy New Year! It’s only the second week of 2018, but some of us (no names mentioned!) might already be wavering on those ambitious resolutions we made to do more of “this” and less of “that” in the coming year.

While the new year offers a chance to start fresh, it’s also an opportunity to re-commit to the causes we hold dear. For those of us in the meat business, this is a pivotal time to rededicate ourselves to an industry we love that is facing intense upheaval. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that 2018 is poised to disrupt the status quo: meat itself is no longer “meat” (“fake meat” is not “fake news”!) and the Amazon fall-out is far from over. (Read my headlines blog to get my take on the trends to watch.)

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Top Meat Industry Headlines of 2017

Oh 2017—what a news-filled, exciting year you have been!

Here at Midan we work hard to stay on top of news and trends in the meat industry. As this year wraps up, I wanted to reflect with you on some of 2017’s prominent trends that we believe will impact 2018.

  1. The Evolution of Retail: It has been a big year for retailers — no one can deny that. This year, retailers have moved at a fast-pace to keep up with consumer trends and the demand for convenience. Retail consolidation is a trend that started some time ago and continues to gain momentum. Major retailers like Kroger have purchased smaller specialty grocers—and we can’t forget the $13.7 billion check Amazon wrote to add Whole Foods to its portfolio. These changes in strategic posturing require retailers to pause and give thought to how they will continue to differentiate themselves. Many are focusing on the areas of consumer convenience: online ordering, curbside delivery and in-home delivery, as well as creating their own meal solutions.

    Outlook for 2018: Expect more posturing, more niche playing and more convenience for consumers.

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Midan’s Reaction to Chain Reaction: Quick Facts on Antibiotic Use in Livestock

Mainstream media outlets swallowed up the subjective content of the recently published Chain Reaction III study, evoking fear and panic among consumers. The report wants consumers and investors to pressure the top 25 fast food and fast casual restaurants to move to meat offerings from livestock raised without the use of antibiotics. It cites consumption of meat from animals that may have been given antibiotics as a leading cause of antibiotic resistance. The report also calls for more government action and pressure from investors to remove such animals from their supply specifications.

At Midan Marketing, we strive to examine the news with both the meat industry and consumer in mind—here’s how you can be a cattle-lyst for the conversation.

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