28 CALF News • April | May 2022 • Notes From the Trade Show Floor The NCBA Trade Show Offers a Wealth of Information COVER STORY By Burt Rutherford Contributing Editor he National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) Trade Show during CattleCon22 was a great place to catch up with friends, talk about the cattle business and learn a few things. Here are a few things I learned. Alternative Proteins According to a survey by C.O.nxt, an ag and food communications agency, consumers from aging Baby Boomers to Gen Z, the youngest group at 18 to 29 years old, are looking at faux meat differently than just two years ago. And it’s not necessarily good news for beef producers. “When we compare to how the incidences of respondents who had tried alternative proteins in 2021, it was 70 percent across more than 1,000 consumers in all age groups. And in 2019, it was 42 percent,” said Marcy Tessman, president and CEO. “And the intent to purchase again from those who had tried it was 87 percent.” Breaking that down, she said the Gen Z group of consumers, the fastestgrowing and largest demographic group, are looking at using alternative meat in a blended approach. “One of the things that emerged out of this study is the notion of using a blended product, some of each; alternative combined with traditional animal proteins.” That bends the idea of a flexitarian – someone who sometimes is a vegetarian and sometimes eats meat. “This fits that category, I think, of where you can have a balanced approach and be OK in having your own reasons for buying both.” For Gen Z, those reasons revolve largely around social issues. While aging Baby Boomers are looking at alternative proteins because they think they’re eating healthier, Gen Zers want to help with climate change, the environment, T animal welfare and even world hunger. Those are real concerns that rank high on their list of why they are considering alternative proteins, Tessman said.“And the real interesting thing that came out of that is that taste isn’t necessarily No. 1.” Extrapolating those data, Tessman says, “You can imagine that alternative proteins are not going to go away and they’re going to continue to grow.” So what can beef producers do? Consumers are thinking about all the issues that ladder up to sustainability, Tessman said. “Those are important aspects of sustainability that the beef industry is doing a really good job of now measuring and sharing and being able to help educate consumers.” Indeed, sustainability was the topic of many conversations at CattleCon22, in a positive way.“We all have room to improve and we’re going to find those areas of improvement,” she said.“That’s really what this all adds up to, in my opinion.” You can read the full report at www. Click on Insights, then Industry Research. About Those Records … We’re not talking vinyl here, although those kind of records are back in vogue. “We think the opportunity for cow-calf operators to capitalize on enhanced marketing opportunities starts with data,” said Justin Sexton with Performance Livestock Analytics. “No one likes collecting it, so how can we make it simple?” The group took its successful feedyard Performance Beef data collection system and reinvented it for cow-calf producers. Dubbed Performance Ranch, the system will be launched soon.