The Clear Advantage
In today’s market, more brands and retailers are engendering loyalty by providing information that shoppers are seeking. “Brand trust and transparency have become substantial points of consideration for beef consumers around the world,” agrees Eric Brandt, president of Brandt Beef, a 100% source-verified and single-source operation in Brawley, Calif. “For us, that means that all our beef comes from our one family-owned operation, where we can track and confirm the origin of all of our animals. Because we personally oversee each step of our process, from cattle feeding to fabrication to steak cutting, we can confidently assure the quality and wholesomeness of everything we put the Brandt Beef brand on. That is the kind of trust we foster with our customers.”
Silver Fern Farms, a New Zealand producer that distributes products in more than 1,600 U.S. stores, has also staked a claim on transparency by, among other things, touting its Net Carbon Zero beef. “Every single kilogram of CO2 emissions associated with our Net Carbon Zero products is counted and removed by the woody vegetation that grows on the group of farms where the animals were raised,” explains David Patragnoni, USA country manager. “Net carbon zero is a clear and understandable proposition, and its linkage to ‘earth-friendly eating’ is very direct. Our methodology is transparent; we publish detailed sustainability reports and engage in a wide range of communication and storytelling initiatives. Our Net Carbon Zero by Nature brand is prominent on the packaging, along with USDA certification of our net carbon zero claims.”
Major protein producers continue to step up their transparency efforts to gain or sustain trust. For example, in its most recent sustainability report, Tyson Foods shares the scope of its FarmCheck audit program, which enables its teams to determine how many farms should be audited each year so that the company can be 99% confident that 95% or more of its supply chain complies with program standards. The Springdale, Ark.-based company maps out its plans and results across many environmental, social and governance (ESG) topics to be more transparent with its global consumers.
Farmer Focus, a 100% USDA organic and Humane Certified chicken company based in Harrisonburg, Va., recently updated its packaging to allow consumers to use a QR code leading to the company website, where visitors can trace a product back to the family farm where it was raised. “USDA organic is at the core of our Farmer Focus brand, but we learned from consumers that they wanted to be reassured of all the attributes that are part of organic certification and what we are doing to go beyond organic,” says Kathryn Tuttle, chief marketing officer.