KANSAS CITY - Recent Power of Meat data from IRI and other studies have made clear what retailers and producers have known anecdotally for some time: demand for organic meat in the United States is rising.
People want to buy “better for you” meats that they can trust, said Kay Cornelius, general manager of Westminster, Colo.-based Panorama Organic Grass-Fed Meats.
“More people are on healthy diets for their heart, or medical related needs than ever before, and organic grass-fed is important to that diet,” Cornelius said. “Those who practice a Whole30 or Paleo diet are also looking for organic and grass-fed beef.”
COVID has just accelerated that increase in demand for organic, Cornelius added.
“The American consumer learned as much as they’ve over known about the meat business this time last year. We all watched as plants were not being able to run. Now, we have a consumer block with such an elevated awareness of how meat is produced that I don’t think we’ll ever come back down from that.”
Consumers chose organic and grass-fed at much higher rates after the pandemic hit, Cornelius said, and now that they’ve learned what to buy in those categories and how to cook it, companies like Panorama are showing them how to make it even better through resources, recipes and education.
“Numbers were already increasing, but the pandemic solidified that people wanted to buy food that they felt good about eating and feeding to their friends and family. Trust and transparency mattered. The claims mattered.”
Panorama has learned a lot during COVID, Cornelius said. One of the things that has really struck a chord is how important the company’s farmers and ranchers are, and why people care so much about where their food comes from and how are animals are raised.
“The efficiencies didn’t hold up, but our system did. Our ranchers relied on us and we relied on them. That relationship, trust and transparency is so important.”
Evolutions in case-ready, value-added, packaging
Panorama has changed its lineup of organic meats in recent years to meet changing consumer demand, Cornelius said.
Those have included case-ready organic grass-fed meats and value-added items. And this summer, Panorama is relaunching hot dog, meatball and snack stick products that were rolled out previously. Also rolling out soon: cutting-edge Vacuum Sealed Packaging (VSP) that will be introduced on the West Coast before going nationwide.
One of the things that separates Panorama from the pack, Cornelius said, is the company’s commitment to sourcing meat that truly is homegrown.
“The system is broken because the vast majority of grass-fed beef, marketed as being from the US, is probably raised somewhere else, in another country, and says product of USA because it was processed here,” Cornelius said. “We trademarked ‘Born and Raised in the USA’ because it is important for consumers to know and trust in that transparency at Panorama Organic.”
Panorama is banking on the belief that grass-fed consumers are interested in supporting the US ranchers and rural communities and in improving the environment.
“I believe the buyer would like to think that buying grass-fed means it is supporting that right here in the US,” Cornelius said.
Recent surveys have shown that 63% of shoppers would like an environmental claim. That provides Panorama, Cornelius said, with an amazing opportunity to tell its story to the consumer.
Not only is Panorama Organic USDA Organic Certified, GAP Step 4, Whole30 Approved and Paleo Certified, but the company just announced that all of its 34 independent ranchers will be a part of the National Audubon Society’s Conservation Ranching initiative and more than 1 million acres will be certified to preserve rangeland grasslands and wildlife habitats — the largest partnership of its kind in the United States, Cornelius said.