The checkoff-funded 2014 Consumer Image Index indicates that consumers are somewhat more positive about beef the product than they are about beef production practices. While consumer knowledge of production practices, be it cattle, chicken or hogs, is relatively limited, certain segments are more likely to seek out information. For many consumers, concerns about beef production include things like antibiotic/hormone use, inhumane treatment, crowded conditions and cattle diet. The study also found that while many consumers, and especially parents, are very favorable toward beef producers, others are less comfortable with the use of science to alter the genetics or body composition of cattle. From an overall industry perception standpoint, the term “factory farming” is not strongly associated with beef production. In fact, that phrase is associated more with chicken production and the confinement and treatment of chicken.
It is always important to understand how consumers view your product. For beef, one way that is achieved is through the checkoff funded Consumer Beef Index, which includes importance and performance measures on a number of beef-specific attributes. It is also important to understand perceptions of how beef is produced and those areas of greatest interest and/or concern to consumers. To address these important issues, the checkoff launched the Consumer Image Index (CII) study in 2011, using results and insights to help set image-related strategic direction for the checkoff and to support the long range plan core strategy to “strengthen the image of beef and the beef industry.”
To read the rest of the story, please go to: Beef Issues Quarterly