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.

[Read more…]

Trade Publications – Are they being read?

At Midan Marketing, we like to get a full view of the fresh meat industry – from producers to consumers and everyone in between. When we’re not studying consumers who purchase and consume fresh meat products, we’re talking to retailers and packer/processors about everything from best processing and merchandising practices to technology and innovation.

Recently, we surveyed retailers and packer/processors to better understand their media consumption habits. We asked them about what they’re reading, how frequently they are reading and how they prefer to get their news. We’ve been conducting this survey every other year since 2009, and for the first time, saw some shifts in how the industry is receiving the news. Below are some of the key findings from the survey.

1. Too many magazines, too little time.iphone_in hand_v1
You’re not alone if you can’t find the time to get through your stack of industry reading; our survey indicates that 53% of your counterparts aren’t either.

2. Newsflash: print is old news.
It’s no surprise that the trend is moving strongly to online (online had the highest readership at more than 80%) and away from print (print’s highest readership was less than 30%). So, if you want to get the most bang for your advertising dollars, you should consider focusing more heavily on online.

3. Ads are getting noticed.
Retail advertising and trade articles are sparking an interest or leading to an inquiry or purchasing decision for 76% of respondents (73% in 2013).

4. Don’t be a meathead; get on the social media bandwagon!
While the industry continues to use Facebook (43%) and Twitter (28%) to promote their companies and brands, use of these sites is declining compared to previous years. The proliferation of newer social media outlets, including Instagram, may be diluting their use. If you want to catch up to today’s tech-savvy consumers, you need to adapt to new social platforms faster.

What do you think? Do these findings align with your media consumption habits? I’d love to hear your thoughts. To learn more about Midan’s public relations and creative communications capabilities, contact me at c.ahn@midanmarketing.com. Thanks for reading!

Out of the Frying Pan…

The day lean meat became insignificant in America’s diet

I finished reading in disbelief.

Meatingplace’s article on the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s (DGAC) detailed an eleventh-hour, closed-door decision to remove lean meat from the list of foods being recommended as part of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines healthy foods list.

This astonishing action by the DGAC could have far-reaching, drastic implications for the meat industry, and it’s time for us to speak out against these shady, backroom politics.

The Dietary Guidelines are developed every five years as a healthy eating guide for Americans. They also help our government make decisions about school lunch program purchases and other food, nutrition and education policies regarding healthy eating. Daily consumption of meat has been included in the Dietary Guidelines recommendations since the first edition was introduced in 1980. These guidelines are developed by a respected DGAC based on an extensive review of scientific evidence that meat is one of the most nutrient-dense sources of protein and other important nutrients, including zinc, iron and B-vitamins.

I guess I shouldn’t have been baffled at how the current DGAC could decide it is appropriate to strip lean meat from its recommendations. It is clear that some of the committee members have radical viewpoints that aren’t grounded in fact-based science. It seems these individuals were able to sway the other members of the committee, making it acceptable to incorporate personal opinions into government recommendations regarding the makeup of a healthy diet for the American population.

This bold move by the DGAC should be another wake up call to our industry. Those organizations and individuals who want to eliminate meat production and consumption continue to hold sway over how our industry does business. Not only are they working to change consumers’ opinions about farming and production practices in order to influence how we produce and market our livestock, they now appear to be in a position to make government recommendations regarding what we should  eat.

We as an industry must continue to be vigilant in conducting sound scientific research that shows the nutritional value of meat, and use that data to educate consumers (and our government, it appears!) about meat’s role in a healthy diet. If you have such research to share at this time, or you too feel that the current DGAC is way off base in removing lean meat from its 2015 dietary guidelines recommendations, I urge you to stand up and make your voice heard.

Please take some time to review the DGAC’s recommendations and industry comments on the Health.gov website. Then work within your organization and in cooperation with other industry agencies to monitor the timing of the Federal Register’s announcement of the final comment period, and submit comments that support the continued inclusion of lean meats as a necessary part of the dietary guidelines.

I believe this is truly an industry turning point. If we don’t want it to be a tipping point, we must not allow the current recommendations to stand.


Helpful Links

Details about the dietary guidelines development process can be found here: http://www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015.asp#overview.

During the December 15 DGAC meeting, the committee voted to approve as its final recommendations for a healthy dietary pattern, a diet that did not include lean meat. Following the meeting, interested parties were given until December 30 to comment. If you’d like to review the comments submitted, they can be found here: http://www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines/dga2015/comments/readComments.aspx.

According to the Health.gov website on the guideline, the DGAC’s recommendations will be submitted to the Secretaries of the Departments of Health and Human Services and Agriculture in early 2015. Once submitted, a Federal Register notice will be published announcing the availability of the recommendations, and another open comment period will be announced along with a date for a public meeting to provide comments to the Federal Government on the report.

Midan in the News

Supermarket NewsMidan Marketing Principal, Danette Amstein, was quoted in a Supermarket News article on marketing ethnic meats. “Educating employees is key. Meat department managers must have a firm grasp on the precise demographic of consumers shopping their stores.”

Read more here.

Public Relations



Transparency and the Meat Industry

Today, the meat industry has a great opportunity to communicate directly with consumers about the meat products they are consuming at home and in restaurants, from production to plate.

In our 2012 Consumer Trends Report: Breaking the Pattern, we uncovered a trend called “Security Through Disclosure.” With consumers’ ongoing distrust of government, institutions and big business, they continue to question what is in the food they eat and where it comes from. In a recent Midan Marketing survey, 44% of consumers said they are very concerned about where their fresh meat comes from versus only 36% of consumers that said they are very concerned about where their food in general comes from.

[Read more…]

The Social Brand

Social media – It’s no longer just a phrase, but a culture; a living, breathing and growing world.  Social media has created an arena where real people come to make meaningful connections in a virtual world. In less than a decade, a site that was created overnight for an elite group of college students has grown into an integrated online community of more than 800 million active users that can communicate in more than 70 languages. Social media has not only changed communication, but redefined it.

The social media boom has brought to light the importance of having a social brand strategy as part of a brand’s development. Creating a social brand strategy may seem like an impossible task to anyone unfamiliar with this once in a generation phenomenon, but there is a starting block for everything.  [Read more…]

The Midan Makeover

If you are friends or followers of Midan on Facebook® or Twitter®, you know that 2011 was a tremendous year of growth for our company!  Over the past 12 months, the Midan team nearly doubled; we added seven smiling faces with extraordinary talent.  Our market research and creative teams grew in both numbers and expertise.  We also changed some seats on our Midan bus to allow internal members who are very good at what they do to become even better developing other skill sets. Yes, 2011 was quite the year!

When we started the Midan journey [Read more…]

Nice guys DO win…really, they do.

One of the many things that I love about Midan Marketing is the transparency, accountability and growth that teammates encourage in each other. That encouragement translates into both professional and personal growth. For example, we have developed Mission Statements for our work teams as well as individual personal Mission Statements for ourselves (there’s another entire blog in that subject :)).

We are also encouraged to set personal growth goals in addition to business goals. One of my personal goals this past year has been to read more in order to increase my knowledge; to get my nose out of my little corner of the world and soak up some wisdom about areas outside my daily routine.

My first choice in this adventure – [Read more…]

Team Meeting? Annually? Me? Really?

With offices in three different states, it is imperative that the whole team is brought together periodically face to face.  It reconnects the team in ways that Skype™, Facebook®, instant messaging, emails and other communication channels cannot.  The various types of electronic media are wonderful, don’t misunderstand me, I am thankful for them; however, meeting face to face is still the best way to communicate and build relationships.

At Midan we get together at least once a year.  During this time together we do a variety of activities and not all of it is work related! I have coordinated three of these team meetings.  Each meeting has been different, successful and fun! [Read more…]

Meat guys and social media

“Did you check-in?”

This is a question my friends and I often ask each other when we go anywhere and everywhere. It could be a hot new restaurant in the city, grocery shopping at our Whole Foods Market®, or a new clothing store on Michigan Avenue. It seems we are always electronically connected to each other, sharing details on new product findings, sales/deals (I love a good sale!) and anything different or unique.

Between Facebook®, Twitter®, Yelp®, YouTube® and Foursquare®, social media has become a part of our daily lives and engrained in our culture. It has completely changed the way consumers receive information and communicate with each other, and is a modern form of word-of-mouth marketing. Marketers from almost every industry have made social media a significant part of their marketing programs. I say almost because… well, the meat industry has only had minimal participation. [Read more…]