A recent “#BLOGMEETSBEEF” program focused on the Pasture to Plate Experience has helped increase knowledge of beef and beef production among 14 of the nations key food bloggers. The event, held April 26-27 in Columbus, Ohio, was funded by the Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin Beef Councils, and was supported by the family-owned Meijer supermarket chain, which carries only Certified Angus Beef.
The invited bloggers came from across the four states, and have followings on their blogs by consumers throughout the United States. They represent a wide range of cooking and family interests, regularly sharing knowledge and recipes with other consumers with an appreciation for food. Their reach extends to more than 984,000 people on multiple social platforms, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
The event began with a tour of the Claylick Run Farm, an Angus seedstock and grain operation located in Licking County, Ohio. A veterinarian provided a presentation on key points about necessary animal health aspects of beef production. The presentation was followed by dinner at an upscale casual steakhouse. The following day allowed the bloggers to learn about Meijer meat operations. They were treated to presentations on cutting and cooking beef, received tips on food photography, and put their own culinary skills to the test in a “Battle of the Beef” Cookoff and Photo Shoot.
“This was a tremendous opportunity to reach out to food enthusiasts who reach thousands of consumers on a daily basis,” said Angie Horkan, director of marketing for the Wisconsin Beef Council. “They came away with a huge appreciation for what it takes to bring beef to America’s dinner tables.”
Pre- and post-event surveys showed that the experience had a tremendous influence on how participants view the beef industry, and how they will use their new information in the future. All bloggers said after the event that they believed the positives either strongly (93 percent) or somewhat (7 percent) outweigh the negatives of beef, and they all said the experience prepared them to communicate simple, healthy ways of incorporating beef either extremely (79 percent) or very (21 percent) well.
“While every consumer would benefit from directly experiencing the beef industry, that isn’t feasible,” according to Elizabeth Harsh, executive director of the Ohio Beef Council. “The next best option is to give those who interact with consumers that opportunity, and that’s what we did here.”