2Bits: When is meat, meat?
“Welcome to the Grand Illusion. Come on in and see what’s happening…”
Missouri is the first state to mandate when meat is meat.
This past week, the Missouri Department of Agriculture (MDA) released an official statement on the Missouri Meat Advertising Law. This statement had three focal points:
- Clarify what product can be labeled as “meat” and when it isn’t, what “words” must be used.
- Require true, accurate, and transparent meat advertising and package label content.
- Minimize market disruption for current food supply chain stakeholders.
When I read and try to understand food labels, I often think of the Styx song, “Grand Illusion.”
Is the veggie burger I ordered at a local restaurant, a burger?
Are the carrot pasta shells I bought at the health food store, pasta?
Is the almond milk the recipe listed as an ingredient, really milk?
Is the ethanol gasoline I put into my car, really fossil fuel?
The list goes on. Is it all a grand illusion?
Marketing spins that words doctors use to entice us to try something new based on attributes of products we’re used to? Products that have industry research, production, tradition, and consumption dollars already invested in them?
I get it. Some people can’t or don’t want to consume meat from an animal, drink milk from mammary glands, or use gasoline from fossil fuels.
So, why can’t the name of these new products and the words used to promote them stand on their own merits?
Create new names, reference terms, and marketing slogans based on solid scientific research and consumer feedback to sell these new edible and non-edible products.
I think as consumers we should challenge companies to do so.
This is the only way to simplify food labels.
I raise my own beef and lamb. I buy pork, chicken, and now salmon from farmers and fishers I know. This is my way of reducing confusion on package labeling.
If my favorite farmers run out of stock, I shop at the neighborhood grocery store. I do not want to read all the fine print to determine if this is plant-based, lab-created bacon, or chicken breasts, or pork sausage.
If I’m having my parents over for dinner, we go gluten-free. I want to easily find a product to serve our homemade spaghetti sauce on. It’s okay if it isn’t labeled “pasta.” Give me a new name to be excited about and look for!
How about you? When you want the real deal, buy from a farmer you know and can talk to.
When you want or need an alternative, vote with your dollars. Buy products from companies bold enough to let their product stand on their own feet. Companies will listen.
Written by your friend, Kim Harrison,CEO 2BuyAg