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What pigs eat matters to millennials

Posted by Teresa Steckler - Other

All right before someone throws the gauntlet at me for reporting a pork article, one just needs to read to the end.  The lack of knowledge about food production is rampant in our society - too few are actually involved in agriculture now.  Also unfortunately, some of those lacking basic ag knowledge may become those in "power" at the local, state, and federal levels of government.  Ag needs to showcase what it does better and sooner rather than later.  Just thinking of Illinois politics and those in Springfield, ag has lost many "friends" due to redistricting and/or retirement. 

Please pay close attention to the bolded text.

By Lisa M. Keefe on 1/24/2017

Millennial consumers say that what pigs eat has a strong influence on their pork-buying habits, according to a consumer survey conducted for Cargill Animal Nutrition, which makes animal feed.

The survey, which polled more than 2,000 people in the United States and Spain, found that 43 percent of American millennials say that a pig's diet influences their purchasing decisions. In Spain, the second-largest pork-producing country in Europe, the number was about 65 percent of millennials.

The survey found that, overall, one-third of all U.S. consumers (32 percent) say a pig's diet influences their purchasing decisions, as opposed to 60 percent of Spanish consumers. American Baby Boomers and Gen Xers place less importance on the diets of the pigs they consume (32 percent and 26 percent say a pig's diet influences their purchasing decisions, respectively).

In both countries, millennials place the highest importance on pigs' diets, but also have the lowest trust that the pigs they eat are raised on what they consider a healthy diet. Forty-two percent of American millennials don't trust that their pork is raised on a healthy diet, significantly more than Baby Boomers (32 percent). In Spain, the number jumps to 67 percent of millennials who don't trust diets fed to pigs are healthy.

"The U.S. pork industry works hard to conduct research and improve the nutritional balance of swine diets," said Dr. Chris Hostetler, director of animal science at the National Pork Board. "It is incumbent upon us to raise pigs in a healthy, safe and responsible manner. And that begins with diet and nutrition."

In terms of sustainability, 37 percent of U.S. millennials think it takes more land and water to raise pigs today than it did 50 years ago. In fact, a 2012 study by the National Pork Board found that farmers actually use 78 percent less land and 41 percent less water to raise pigs.

The U.S. survey was conducted in December 2016, and polled a demographically representative sample of 1,055 U.S. adults. The Spanish survey also was conducted in December 2016, and polled a demographically representative sample of 1,000 Spanish adults.

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