Ag News

Radke: Producers Must Respond To Shifting Consumer Demands

IARN — United States cattle producers face numerous challenges, in the face of coronavirus.

Amanda Radke, South Dakota cattle rancher and BEEF magazine contributor, says “It begs the question: What are we going to do to keep producers on the land and beef on the plate during this crisis season and beyond?”

“There are no easy solutions to this loaded question,” Radke says. However, Radke believes “producers willing to innovate and pivot their business models, in order to better connect with their consumers and serve them with what they’re actually seeking to buy,” will be the most successful, even in the darkest of days.

Radke, in speaking to recent consumer trends, presents data from LEK Consulting. The firm, which surveyed 2,600 consumers, says extra money is being spent on groceries, and more groceries are being purchased through online methods.

“While dining out has subsided substantially for most consumers, respondents are spending 15-percent to 25-percent more on groceries, with 40-percent doing their grocery shopping online with curbside pickup. This means it will be harder to sell high-end steaks that were formerly enjoyed at restaurants, but suddenly, cooking at home with budget-friendly beef is in vogue again,” Radke said.

Another poll, conducted by Shopkick, indicates consumers are purchasing more essential items, ranging from meat to bread to dairy.

“What’s more, three-fourths of respondnts said they had difficulty finding chicken and other meats, as well as bread, eggs, and milk when they went grocery shopping,” Radke said. “David Fisch, Shopkick general manager, said it is critical for retailers to have a finger on the pulse of what is most essential to consumers, especially as the situation continues to evolve. That advice certainly applies to beef producers as well.”

This data further speaks to the “explosive growth for locally sourced proteins,” such as beef. Radke says, “In order to be truly successful in this challenging beef cattle business in the COVID-19 era and beyond, producers must respond to shifting consumer demands by innovating, pivoting, connecting, and serving.”

Story courtesy of the Iowa Agribusiness Radio Network.

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