Negotiated cash fed cattle prices ended last week $1 lower on a live basis at $121/cwt. in the Southern Plains and Nebraska; $121-$122 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed trade was $1-$2 lower at mostly $193.
Softer cash prices, declining wholesale beef values and queasiness over demand from a potentially slowing global economy weighed on Cattle futures to start the week.
Live Cattle futures closed an average of 76¢ lower.
Except for 5¢ and 2¢ higher in the front two contracts, Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 97¢ lower (12¢ to $1.22 lower).
Wholesale beef values were lower on Choice and steady on Select with light to moderate demand and moderate to heavy offerings, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.
Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.21 lower Monday afternoon at $208.91/cwt. Select was 19¢ lower at $203.70.
Corn futures closed narrowly mixed but mostly 1¢ lower.
Soybean futures closed mostly unchanged to fractionally higher.
Major U.S. financial indices on Monday regained most or all of what was lost in the previous session, led by tech stocks.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 174 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 24 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 107 points.
Folks in the cattle and beef business have plenty of work ahead to correct the consumer misinformation surrounding fake meat.
In an online survey of more than 1,800 consumers, less than half of the respondents understood the labeling term “plant-based beef” was intended to describe an entirely vegetarian or vegan food product.
Approximately one third of surveyed consumers believed that plant-based fake meat products contained at least some real beef in them.
The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) commissioned the survey. Results were released last week.
When asked to evaluate specific product labels and marketing materials from some of the leading plant-based fake beef products currently on the market:
Nearly two-thirds of respondents believed the fake meat products produced by Beyond Meat, Impossible Foods and LightLife contained real beef or some form of animal byproduct.
32% of consumers who were shown a package of Beyond Meat’s “Beyond Burger” plant-based patties (which features a cow icon) told researchers that they thought the patties contained at least small amounts of real meat. It contains no beef.
37% of consumers who were shown a package of Lightlife’s “Gimme Lean”, which features the word “Beef” highlighted in a red box, said the product contained at least some real beef. It contains no beef.
“The fact that so many consumers look at these labels and think that the products include meat or other animal byproducts is a clear sign that the misleading labeling and deceptive marketing practices of plant-based fake meat companies has caused real consumer confusion,” says NCBA past president Jennifer Houston. “Many of these fake-meat products purposely use graphics and words that trade on beef’s good name, and it needs to stop immediately. Consumers rely on names and product packaging to inform their purchasing decisions, and they have a right to know that this information is accurate and not misleading.”
When asked to rank plant-based fake meat versus beef on a host of food attributes:
44% of consumers believed plant-based products were lower in sodium, when leading plant-based fake beef is anywhere between 220 to 620% higher in sodium than the same size serving of real ground beef. Just 24% of respondents correctly identified beef as being lower in sodium.
34% of respondents believed plant-based fake meat to be less processed than genuine beef and another 34% believed fake and real beef products were equivalent on the food processing scale. Scientifically speaking, beef is considered to be an unprocessed or minimally processed food, whereas plant-based fake meat products are classified as an ultra-processed food product.
On the broad category of healthfulness, more than half of consumers believed plant-based meat was better.
“This research is a wake-up call for our industry, the news media, and for federal regulators,” Houston says. “We in the beef industry need to do a better job educating consumers about the fact that beef is a nutrient-rich source of high-quality protein and essential nutrients that can play a key role in any healthy lifestyle. We also need reporters and regulators to understand how many consumers are confused and/or misinformed about exactly what’s in these new plant-based alternatives.”
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has the power to prevent this sort of consumer confusion.