It may not be all that surprising to hear radio ads promoting chicken products as “cage-free,” “hormone-free” or “steroid-free,” if it comes from a nationwide chain with little connection to the farm.
But when it is a smaller, regional chain that also operates farms, that’s a different story.
That’s why I was surprised to hear such a commercial for chicken products sold at Braum’s.
If you are from Oklahoma or southern Kansas, you undoubtedly know about this chain, because dang near every town in the region with a population of more than 8,000 has one. There are also locations in Texas, Missouri and Arkansas. But for those of you unfamiliar with the Oklahoma-City based chain, it is a quick service restaurant chain with all of the usual fare, a sizeable (and tasty) breakfast menu, and an impressive selection of ice cream flavors.
Inside each Braum’s is also a small grocery section, known as Braum’s Fresh Market, which features all the basics, and an even more impressive selection of ice cream flavors.
Braum’s also operates a bakery, dairy, processing plant, milking facility and a herd of a few thousand cattle at the Braum family farm in Tuttle, Oklahoma. It also runs another milking operation on a family farm near Shattuck, Oklahoma.
Since the family company is directly involved in agriculture, you would think it would be familiar with all the marketing clichés that do nothing to increase the public’s knowledge of modern production agriculture. But Braum’s perpetuated the myths anyway.
It really caught me off-guard when I heard the ad on the radio. It came on again a few hours later, and I jumped up to record it.
A portion of the commercial states: “The chickens live on cage-free farms, are fed a 100% vegetarian diet, and are never given antibiotics, hormones or steroids. You can enjoy Braum’s no antibiotics ever chicken strips, sandwiches and salads, knowing that you are only getting top quality chicken done right.”
Of course, broiler chickens raised on cage-free farms and not treated with steroids or hormones can be described as “chicken done right.” Can you name anyone who raises broilers that does otherwise?
No. Because the federal government has made it illegal for poultry to be given hormones or steroids since the 1950s. And as the National Chicken Council says on its Chicken Check In webpage, no chicken you buy is raised in a cage.
Come on, Braum’s. You know better.