The virus has also created another new reality for those of us in the meat business: The barn doors have been flung open. COVID-19 has resulted in meat processors further pulling back the curtain on their operations to show their employees, public health officials and consumers the measures they are taking to keep their workforce safe and the meat supply moving.
With daily media reports of meat plants closing as workers have gotten sick, it is no surprise that the safety of the meat supply has been top of mind with consumers. An April study by Midan Marketing1 revealed that 74% of meat and chicken consumers have been thinking about the safety of meat and chicken products since COVID-19 began. Of those concerned about food safety due to the virus, 49% listed transmission of COVID from processors/packers/butchers cutting and packaging meat as their top concern.
Nearly 70% of consumers stated they believe that packer/processors are responsible for the safety of the meat they purchase.
Our Midan research shows us that consumers, Millennials in particular, want to know more about where their meat and chicken products come from, and this is the perfect opportunity for “show and tell.” Take charge of the message and show consumers everything you are doing to maintain a production process that ensures worker safety and delivers a safe product for them to feed to their families.
Here are five best practices to help establish and then maintain this new level of transparency:
For the first time ever, processor websites and social media channels are featuring photos and videos of the inside of their meat plants. This transparency started with COVID-19, but it can’t end there – we must fully embrace it to safeguard the trust our consumers place in us and our meat products now and in the future.
1Midan Marketing, COVID-19 Study #2, April 2020, 855 meat and chicken consumers