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Challenges Ahead For Niche Marketers That Sell Local Meat

Challenges Ahead For Niche Marketers That Sell Local Meat
The next generation doesn't appreciate taste difference.

You've likely grown up eating fried chicken, roast beef on Sunday, lots of green beans and of course, mashed potatoes. If someone takes you to a five-star restaurant where they serve escargot, asparagus spears, nearly raw sliced beef and give it all a fancy name, you may want to go back home and eat a home-cooked dinner.

Wins On Looks: The locally grown pork on the left looks better, the students agreed, but when it was cooked, some preferred the store-bought meat instead.

In some strange way, that may be the case with the next generation of consumers, those in high schools and colleges right now. If you're raising meat and selling it for a premium at farmer's markets or at homes, you might consider how you will convince the next generation that buying your meat at a higher price is better than buying meat form a local big-box supermarket chain store.

In a recent experiment we showed home-raised and locally processed pork vs. pork both at a local supermarket to about 30 high school students at Franklin Community High School. It's a mixed income school system, with plenty of blue collar families on tight budgets. Most of the students have grown up eating meat form a local supermarket or big chain store.

You may turn your nose up at the idea of eating that beef or pork, but they don't – they don't know there is anything better. And after you've acquired a taste for something, it takes time to adjust that taste, let alone pay more to get it.

The students agreed that the locally grown pork was deeper pink and looked fresher. The store-bought pork chops had more fat laced in between the muscles. Even the students knew this was called marbling, and to them, marbling means juicy and tender.

Once the pork was cut and sampled, it was a draw. Some preferred the locally grown pork, but many preferred the store-bought pork.

Why? It likely has to do with the fact they've become accustomed to the flavor with a bit more fat in it. The locally grown pork was very lean, and the fat had been trimmed off.

You've likely got many more things to worry about today, but if you're in the local niche meat business or want to get into it, it might be wise to develop a plan to introduce your meat to the next generation of consumers.

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