This post by Ben Tedore
Here at the Nevada Small Business Development Center (NSBDC) students are always on the lookout for changes in small business across Nevada. Recently I have noticed something different about the food industry and am sure many of you have as well.
What I have noticed is people are starting to question what they eat, where it came from, and how it was made. In particular, people are looking at the quality of their beef. Currently, it seems many American farmers are in a transition of going from corn based feed lots where cattle are fed enormous quantities of corn, soy-based protein supplements, antibiotics and other drugs, including growth hormones. They are going back to the way it’s supposed to be, grass fed cattle free of hormones, antibiotics, and other supplements. It seems this change in Americans’ way of buying beef will not stop. 10 years ago there were only 50 grass fed cattle operations left in the US. Compare that to today where thousands are thriving and growing including some local farms here in Nevada.
Since grass fed cattle are more expensive to raise and require much more land, I don’t believe it will ever fully be America’s complete resource for beef. What we do know is that 60% of consumers could soon be choosing grass fed beef over grain fed on a regular basis. With that, we also know that shoppers purchasing such a product are willing to pay two or three times as much to guarantee that the beef they eat has had ample living space and sufficient time outdoors, were raised on organic or foraged food (or both), and were not fed antibiotics or growth hormones. In conclusion, we see that business is always on the move, and just because something has been the same for years doesn’t mean the consumers won’t demand differently once they become more informed.
Until next time, ask yourself how your customers and their buying habits are changing today.
For more information on the Food Industry in Nevada go to www.nevadafoodbusiness.com
By Geoff Shields
Marketing Intern at the Nevada SBDC