KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Michael Billings, head of procurement at ButcherBox, strongly believes that people just want to know the truth about where their food comes from.

And they are willing to vote with their wallets to get it. The 2019 Power Meat of Study found that shoppers’ desire to know more about meat and poultry production practices and ingredients is driving growth in the category. To maintain that momentum, according to Billings, trust and transparency are key.

In the second episode of our conversation with Billings, he talks about communicating claims to consumers and partnering with Niman Ranch. He also has thoughts about what it’s like for a short-time retiree trying to train younger workers to succeed in a business they might not know much about. Billings’ connection to agriculture grew from a childhood spent helping his grandfather on a chicken farm.

“I actually grew up on Martha's Vineyard and my grandparents owned a 45-acre chicken and turkey farm on Martha’s Vineyard that was started by a very rich man that was called Oscar Burke,” Billings explained. “His wife loved turkey and he couldn’t ever find it. So, he bought a piece of land and had my grandfather build a farm on it.

“I have really cool remembrances of being of five years old feeding chickens,” he added. “It’s kind of given me a passion — I’ve become more of a student, I think, than just a meat guy.”

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