Newly released survey results comparing consumer attitudes in the two largest beef-producing countries – the U.S. and Brazil – have revealed several important trends in purchasing preferences that are influenced by how beef animals are raised and fed.
Cargill's "Feed for Thought" survey of more than 2,000 people in the U.S. and Brazil found that the majority of U.S. consumers (54%) and Brazilian consumers (69%) are more likely to purchase beef raised without antibiotics. Still, only 35% of people in both countries are willing to pay more for it.
"I expect that as American Millennials age, we will need to work toward continuously heightening our efforts in the area of transparency while always working to address consumer food trends with a nutritious and affordable food supply," said Randy Krotz, chief executive officer of the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance. "Animal feed companies and farmers must continue to find alternatives to meet consumer demand and should be prepared to serve a customer base that scrutinizes where their food comes from and how it's made."
Recognizing this consumer trend, Cargill's beef business in the U.S. recently reduced us of shared-class antibiotics – those used for both animal and human health – by 20% at its four cattle feedyards as well as at four alliance partner feedyards, representing a total of approximately 1.2 million animals annually.
"Consumer preferences for how beef cattle are raised and fed are evolving," said Clint Calk, beef commercial director at Cargill Animal Nutrition. "More and more people care not only about the food they eat but also about what is fed to animals that produce our food. As a result, we are working hard to develop natural alternatives to antibiotics designed to improve sustainability and to answer the call for more options from our customers and consumers."
Cargill Animal Nutrition has been working closely with its customers to develop important feed ingredient alternatives, such as essential oils, yeasts and other naturally occurring plant extracts, as a way to improve animal well-being and to reduce antibiotic use.
"Simply put, we live in a world that will need to feed 9 billion people by 2050, and we are fully committed to doing this in a way that is sustainable and responsible and in a manner that meets the expectations of consumers both today and tomorrow," Calk said.