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Shared values can help win meat debate

Dirck Steimel

We’ve entered a new year, but there’s no letup in the rollout of products designed to mimic meat.

Just last week one company announced a product designed to taste like pork, KFC announced it is releasing a plant-based “chicken” sandwich and plant-based protein companies are setting their sights on Asia.

So what can livestock farmers do to counter the misinformation makers of fake meat products typically use to disparage real meat? 

The natural inclination is to counter with facts. But research shows it’s more important to highlight shared values to consumers.

There’s plenty of evidence to counter the nutritional and environmental arguments these companies use. Dietitians tell us that real meat contains a unique nutrient-dense package of high-quality protein. On the environmental front, the EPA says agriculture accounts for only 9% of greenhouse gas emissions, and that’s trending down thanks to increased efficiency. 

To highlight shared values, farmers must honestly tell their own stories and make them relatable to consumers. It’s talking about caring for livestock, often in the toughest kinds of weather. It’s showing how farmers contribute to their rural communities and schools. And it’s discussing how farmers are taking on the challenge of improving water quality and other environmental issues.

It’s not always easy, but it’s important. And it’s something that companies touting their fake meat products can never do.


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