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Non-commercial food service represents 35% of the total food service dollars. Food service professionals are currently being targeted with an anti-livestock agenda that includes decreasing beef consumption by 40% under the umbrella of sustainability which commonly lacks or misinterprets science-based information. There is a need to provide science-based, non-biased information to non-commercial food service professionals that will allow them to balance social, economic, and environmental factors when making food purchasing decisions. Objectives were as follows: 1.) Provide scientific, non-biased information to non-commercial food service providers using relatable indicators balancing social, economic, and environment factors; 2.) Related sustainability decisions to human health; 3.) Develop relationships that build trust among participants and providers so ongoing dialogue about beef will occur up and down the supply chain using scientific information, and 4.) Provide outreach to communicate this take this information to the non-commercial food service segments.
The first Beef Sustainability Summit was held October 14-16, 2019. Additionally, a series of 4 webinars, 7 podcasts, and 7 factsheets were created to provide science-based, non-biased information to non-commercial foodservice professionals from a team of beef cattle experts. The webinars were created from filming a series of one-on-one discussions among the team of experts in animal health, reproduction, nutrition, genetics, and economics around important topics in beef sustainability. The webinars were shown by food distributors Sysco and Vizient Inc. to provide continuing education credits to their clients through several certifying organizations. The podcasts were recorded as a discussion among the same beef cattle experts as well as a beef cattle producer. Similar topics as in the webinars were discussed on the podcasts, and the podcasts were posted on Apple, Spotify, Pandora, Google, and Blubrry. The factsheets were developed to provide important facts around beef sustainability in a clear, efficient manner. Each factsheet focuses on a concept discussed in the webinars and podcasts. Additionally, a website was created to host the webinars, podcasts, and factsheets so science-based, non-biased information can be shared among food service professionals and by beef industry personnel.
The non-commercial food service industry is interested in learning nonbiased information about beef production. Food distributors are interested in educating their sales team and customers on beef sustainability. Both the team of beef cattle experts and food service professionals learned more about the entire beef supply chain.
For participants of the Beef Sustainability Summit, first-hand knowledge dramatically changed their view of the beef industry. Providing science-based, nonbiased information to non-commercial food service professionals will enhance their ability to critically evaluate other information about beef sustainability. The knowledge gained will allow them to make purchasing decisions that balance the three pillars of sustainability while providing a healthy diet for their customers.