DALLAS – In a recent study, the National Pork Board (NPB) found that 36 percent of consumers believe it’s the retailer’s responsibility to communicate the story of how products in the aisles are sourced — 17 percent believed it was an obligation and 5 percent said it was the retailer’s duty. At the 2017 Annual Meat Conference, the National Pork Board offered ideas for retailers to do a better job of telling the story behind the food.
Angela Anderson, communications manager for the National Pork Board explained a three-point approach taking advantage of the opportunity that hog farmers and retailers have in telling the story behind the pork products they produce and sell.
- Partnership between the retailer and producer — Pork producers need to provide information on farms and processes for retailers to pass along to consumers.
- Retailer to consumer education — Instore, mobile and online engagement of consumers with educational material providing them the information on the pork they purchase.
- Direct to consumer — Coming in 2017, NPB will work with retailers and producers on strategies for direct engagement with the purchasing public.
For the direct-to-consumer piece, Anderson suggests on-package labels provide consumers with the stories of the farms and farmers along with QR codes showing short videos giving consumers a glimpse into what happens on producer farms. Anderson says one or two farmers for this purpose will accurately represent the many producers and farms in the supply chain.
Also for direct engagement with consumers, Applegate farms uses UPC codes to provide a direct link to the story on the company website. “I think that’s a good start, and I’d really like to see that on all brands,” Anderson said.
She went on to say, “At the end of the day, the consumer wants to feel good about who is producing their product.”
An important next step, according to Anderson, is a transparent consumer webpage for farms and producers that talks about where the pork comes from. “That’s critically important because consumers are looking for that today.” Digital engagement, in-store signage providing the story, partnership with industry organizations beyond promotion and an educated staff prepared to speak with consumers about where their pork comes from and how it’s produced can play a vital role in communicating the story to consumers in the future, as well.