'Care' crosses over
Welcome to the new normal. What does it mean for producers?
Posted: September 24, 2015
By: Brad Brinkworth
Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall struck into the emotion around recent food industry marketing shifts with a simple tweet: "@AWCanada always had great burgers. Too bad they started using non- Canadian beef."
This kick-started a small Twitter battle that had everyone from McDonald's Canada to Spring Creek Ranch, to the Canadian Cattlemen's Association (CCA) John Masswohl chiming in, especially when A&W danced around its inability to say its burgers are 100 percent Canadian.
While Masswohl held A&Ws feet to the fire, to answer the question directly, Spring Creek noted that it supplies A&W and that getting more suppliers on board is a simple challenge of supply and demand.
McDonald's couldn't resist capitalizing, suggesting to the Premier: "While you wait, why not grab a Big Mac? 100% Cdn beef!"
Now in recent days it's become even more clear the battle for consumers has also expanded to a battle for the hearts and minds of producers, with launch of the new McDonald's campaign. The first ad shows a Big Mac with the familiar two patties of beef missing, alongside the tag "The Big Mac? Not without Canadian beef farmers."
Twitter eruption reveals industry in transition
One thing clear is that the concept of "Care" has fully crossed over. The word has been associated strongly with the issue of "farm animal care" (i.e. animal welfare) and the related farm animal care organizations across the country. Industry rebranding efforts such as Farm & Food Care Ontario have mirrored how this term has now become associated with broader sustainability.
And now in the influence game, it has come to embrace not just caring about consumers who want to know more about how their food is produced, but caring for the farmers as well and trying to bring everyone together.
Time will tell what is reality vs perception and real care vs pure marketing. And what all of this ultimately means for livestock producers and their industries. For now, here's a rundown of quick takes and insights on some of the key developments over the summer. All have implications for farm animal care, as well as other sustainability issues.