Pork Sector Responding to Consumer Demand for Transparency

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Farmscape for January 24, 2019

Full Interview 10:13 Listen

An Agricultural Economist with the University of Alberta says the pork sector is responding positively to the changing demands of consumers. With the growing disconnect between the production of food and  those who consume the food, the food sector is taking steps to provide greater assurances of quality, safety and nutrition. Dr. Ellen Goddard, an Agricultural Economist with the University of Alberta says looking just at 2018 new products or renovated products, changing the packaging, changing some attributes of the product, an awful lot is happening in the pork space.

Clip-Dr. Ellen Goddard-University of Alberta:
There’s an awful lot happening with processed pork products, sausages, etceteras etcetera, and they are now being produced to a set of standards that allow them to make claims that in the past would never have been made on the products. Even fresh products are being produced with verified claims around humane handling, around environmental footprint, around environmental friendly packaging, around the use of GM feeds, around the use of antibiotics and hormones in a way that is directly addressing what I think today’s  consumer wants to know. A lot of people say I don’t read labels when I go to the grocery store so therefore I don’t think anybody else reads labels so therefore putting things on labels is a waste of time. Or admittedly putting it on a web site where people can access it from the label is another way of dealing with it. The reality is that people feel comforted that the information is there, whether or not they read it. They feel that things are not being hidden from them and it is a lack of transparency that builds distrust in the food system. The more transparent that you are, the less worried people actually are about what you are doing.

Dr. Goddard doesn’t believe people are opposed to the use of technology in agriculture but they are opposed to changes they don’t quite understand that could affect something in their lives, whether it’s the environment or their health, without telling them.

For Farmscape.Ca, I’m Bruce Cochrane.

       *Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork

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