Tyson Foods, Transparency, and ‘No Antibiotics Ever’

Tyson Foods, Transparency, and ‘No Antibiotics Ever’

Tyson Foods recently announced that it will source its line of retail chicken products from suppliers who don’t use antibiotics, ever. As President and CEO Tom Hayes reported earlier this year, the company is focusing on transparent and sustainable production practices while continuing to innovate in its product development.

Tyson’s move responds to the growing trend among consumers, particularly Millennials, to view humane treatment of livestock animals as an ethical imperative, and an important component of corporate policies for marketers involved in meat, poultry, and dairycase products.

Animal Welfare and Transparency Practices

As detailed in Packaged Facts’ recent report, Animal Welfare: Issues and Opportunities in the Meat, Poultry, and Egg Markets in the U.S., 33% of U.S. adults strongly agree, and another 31% somewhat agree, that “humane treatment of animals raised for food should be a societal concern.” In addition, 31% strongly agree, and another 30% somewhat agree, that “humane treatment of animals raised for food should be government regulated.”

In this context of consumer sentiment, Tyson partnered with documentary film maker Daniel Junge to film a video series featuring behind-the-scenes footage of this food industry giant’s production of chicken nuggets.  Not coincidentally, chicken nuggets have sometimes been used (along with Froot Loops, Pop Tarts, Twinkies, and other popular products) as an iconic example of the nutritional shortcomings of the modern food industry.

The first video examines independent farmers who raise the company’s chickens. To capitalize on demand for transparency, Tyson is making experts available to answer consumer questions about company products and production practices via social media.

Local sourcing is another important consumer issue for product types where animal welfare is at issue. Packaged Facts recently reported that specialty stores are growing their sales of meat and poultry precisely by offering locally sourced, organic, and other products lacking the production scale needed for broad distribution by large retail chains. Large corporations, well aware of this dynamic, are taking steps to implement more transparent and sustainable food systems.

The Demand for Transparency

Consumers increasingly want to know not just where their food comes from, but also who prepares it and how. Still other consumers are bypassing the brick-and-mortar retailer altogether, opting instead to buy meat and poultry through the Internet, often directly from farmers. As a reflection of this changing market, Packaged Facts notes that supermarkets and supercenters have a relatively lower draw among Millennials (68%) than among U.S. adults overall (79%).

Tyson Foods: Move to humane treatment of chicken, beef, and meats as part of animal welfare

Spanning the food production and delivery spectrum, companies keyed in to consumer concerns over animal welfare standards (which, in turn, have led to investor concerns) have been taking steps to improve the quality of life of the animals in their supply chains.

Companies that do raise the bar on animal welfare transparency will help secure a loyal consumer base of new Millennial and Gen Z customers. By tapping into social networks where consumers advocate for their preferred brands and outlets, moreover, companies can increase the impact of their transparency and commitment to animal welfare.

Find more information in Packaged Facts’ new reports, Animal Welfare: Issues and Opportunities in the Meat, Poultry, and Egg Markets in the U.S. and Meat & Poultry: U.S. Retail Market Trends & Opportunities.