We all get excited about new things: the latest super hero movie, the hot new restaurant, the band that everyone is talking about. These days plant or lab-based meat fits right into that category: something new and novel that are everywhere in the media these days.
But commonsense Iowans, always good at seeing fads for what they are and cutting through the hype, aren’t buying the sizzle about imitation meat.
That’s why the results of the recent Iowa Farm Bureau Food and Farm Index® weren’t a big surprise. The 6th annual survey, conducted online by The Harris Poll of some 500 Iowans who do their household’s grocery shopping, showed a strong affinity for real meat. In fact, only a minority say they would buy plant or lab-based imitation meat, even if they were given the chance.
The survey showed that 94% of shoppers remained convinced that real meat is a healthy option, compared to 74% who say the same of plant-based imitation meat. And, after learning more information about the benefits of animal protein in the human diet, 72% of grocery shoppers say they are likely to eat even more meat, eggs and dairy.
My guess is that Iowa shoppers aren’t fervently against imitation meat. It’s just that consumers in our state continue to see plenty of very good reasons to choose real pork, beef and other meats. There’s just no reason for an alternative.
First, there’s the fact that real meat delivers big on nutrition. As dietary experts often note, meat delivers high quality nutrition, with protein, amino acids and vitamins. It’s a nutritional package that imitators can’t match. “Animal protein continues to be important because it is a high-quality or ‘complete’ protein containing all the essential amino acids. Pork, for example, contains one of the highest amounts of protein per serving and provides needed minerals like selenium, zinc, and iron and vitamins B12, B6, thiamin and niacin,” says Ruth MacDonald, chair of the ISU Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition.
Second, 92% of Iowa consumers trust farmers to do the right thing raising cattle, hogs, poultry and other food animals. The Iowa Farm Bureau Food and Farm Index® shows that nine in 10 Iowa consumers trust farmers to care for their animals. More than three-quarters also say that farmers are responsible caretakers of the environment.
Choosing real meat at the supermarket or a restaurant just makes common sense if you are looking for quality protein and nutrition at a reasonable price and you want a protein source that’s raised right and here in Iowa. And common sense is something Iowans excel at.
By Dirck Steimel. Dirck is Iowa Farm Bureau's news services manager.