Some US pork producers are struggling to keep pace with new foodservice and retail policies that reflect consumer-based perceptions of sustainability, Pork Perspectives reports.
New demands are coming down on pig farmers and other livestock producers with dizzying variety and speed, and each new announcement precipitates the next, the article states. March 2016 saw an unprecedented number of announcements as momentum appears to be building.
While responding to consumer demands can be good for business, critics question the actual health, welfare and sustainability benefits of the new policies, such as cage-free and antibiotic-free production.
For example, as part of its goal to eliminate use of medically important antibiotics, Subway recently announced a new sandwich featuring chicken raised without antibiotics. But according to Angela Bowman, associate editor of PorkNetwork, “It’s not about antibiotic resistance. It’s not about animal health. It’s not even about human health. It’s all about that ultimate bottom line.”
However, Kansas State University professor Glynn Tonsor said that adaptable producers, veterinarians and other industry members can also benefit from these changes.
“How we produce pork will not always be based on what works best scientifically…Change in any industry can be tough. But to remain competitive and increase consumer trust in pork products, change is unavoidable. Will you be ready to meet it?”