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Big Meat

Meat Industry Using ‘Misinformation’ To Block Dietary Change

The agriculture sector has spent millions of dollars on discrediting plant-based diets, a new report has claimed. The report, published by the consumer advocacy organisation Freedom Food Alliance on Thursday (29 February), found that multinational meat companies and lobby groups were using industry-funded research, public ad campaigns and educational materials to sway public opinion on meat and dairy. The Disinformation Report: Harvesting Denial, Distractions & Deception suggests that the industry is sidestepping accountability for its role in greenhouse emissions.

The Rise Of The ‘Climate Friendly’ Cow

In early March, global food giant Tyson unveiled a new beef product line at the 2023 annual industry meat conference. Named “BrazenTM Beef”, it was the first ever product of its kind to receive the “Climate-Friendly” stamp from the US Department of Agriculture. The brand, which grew out of Tyson’s “Climate-Smart Beef Program”, reportedly earned this badge through securing a 10 percent cut in greenhouse gas emissions compared to regular North American beef. The company is frank about the product’s marketing strategy. Tyson told the Progressive Grocer it is “trying to be upbeat and different”, with something that speaks definitively to younger Millennial and Gen Z consumers.

The Meat Industry Is Advertising Like Big Oil

Later this month, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) will head to the 2023 National Agri-Marketing Association’s conference to see if its public relations campaign about beef’s sustainability can secure the national award for campaigns directed to consumers. Earlier this year, a campaign NCBA began in 2021 called “Beefing up Sustainability,” and a corresponding campaign targeted to kids, advanced to the final round. Both were part of NCBA’s multi-pronged PR campaign about how beef is actually a climate-conscious food. The group, which is the beef industry’s largest trade association, plastered the New York Times (including its popular podcast The Daily) and the Washington Post with climate-conscious food messaging.
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