A consumer panel at the symposium provided insight on how decisions are made in the grocery store.

A consumer panel facilitated by Jan Johnson of Millennium Research, Inc., provided consumer insights on animal care and other factors that impact food choices. A theme quickly became apparent: Convenience.

“I buy pre-packaged food because it’s easy,” said one of the panel members, with the others offering similar comments, including preferences for quick-cooking cuts, meal kits or roasts to put in a crock-pot.

When asked what drives their meat-purchasing decisions, the panelists said price, size and fat were key influencers.
“I always like the packages that say 10 percent more for free,” said one of the panelists. The consumer panelists stated that they typically look at the internet and food magazines for new recipe ideas.

Consumer Views about Animal Care Vary Widely

The consumer panelists’ views about animal treatment prior to processing ranged from those who assumed “everything was fine” to one who consistently shopped with it in mind.

“They’re living creatures and need to be treated ethically,” the panelist said. “If I think about it too much, I have a hard time eating meat. It is something where I’d like to see change.”

However, when asked what would make them feel good about eating a pork chop, the panelists were united in that more information at the meat counter would be helpful.

“I would feel better if I knew a farm was committed to giving animals a decent quality of life,” one panelist said.

Another agreed, saying, “I bought a watermelon and it had a QR code that told me where it was from. If a pork chop package said where they came from, that would be great. Having the ability to know that would be a big thing