News and analysis on the global poultry
and animal feed industries.

Food Safety and Processing Perspective

Terrence O’Keefe, WATT’s content director, provides his perspective on everything from animal agriculture trends that impact our food chain to food-safety related issues affecting chicken and egg production. O’Keefe has covered the poultry industry as an editor for more than a decade and also brings his experience in plant management and poultry production to comment on today’s issues.
Egg Production / Poultry Welfare

Transparency is the key to keeping hens in the house

Courtesy Farm to Fork Advisory Services

If you aren’t completely transparent about how your hens and pullets are raised, millennial consumers will assume you are hiding something.

August 9, 2017

Millennial consumers aren’t set on what they want and can be led or coached to change what they want or desire. So, in spite of what you may have heard about how millennials care more about this or that than other demographic groups do, their opinions can be changed by effective marketing campaigns, according to Richard Kottmeyer, senior managing partner, Farm to Fork Advisory Services.

Kottmeyer told the audience at the recent Chicken Marketing Summit in Ashville, North Carolina: “Millennials are extremely reasonable and flexible but only after you manage the trust issue. The bar on trust is higher because they are 'self-researching experts' who feel you lied to them in the past, but trust is built quickly when you stay 'in the buff.'”

Kottmeyer stressed that the typical millennial responds better to common sense explanations than they do to scientific data. In a survey of U.S. consumers sponsored by WATT Global Media, Elanco and the National Chicken Council, 71 percent said the statement “Most chickens are genetically modified to grow bigger and faster” was true.  

Kottmeyer showed how this belief could be debunked by using the analogy of how selective breeding of dogs has resulted in breeds as different in size and growth rate as the Chihuahua and large dog breeds. Consumers, even millennials, know that dogs haven’t been genetically modified.

Egg producers need to get two or three steps in front of the activist groups and address potential issues before they are raised in order to help frame the conversation with consumers. Outdoor access, free range, large bird numbers on one farm, and even high rate of lay should all be looked at and explained in common-sense terms and visuals.