September 30, 2009

Beef Magazine. Yes, it exists.

A different type of post that I mentioned we would delve into. This is a 2002 Beef Magazine interview with Greg Page, now CEO of Cargill, which is one of the largest privately held companies in the world. Cargill would rank as one of the ten largest Fortune 500 companies if it were public (via Wikipedia). Over $120 billion in revenues. That is $100 billion more than Google.

This is interview is must read since I think it is important for us to know about the food complex, their marketing and research.

Two bits of data struck me specifically. First this quote.

Three billion people in the world live on incomes below $1,000/year. They consume almost no meat, milk or eggs. If just one-third of those people increased their incomes by 25¢/hour, they would consume enough meat, milk and eggs to require the entire U.S. grain crop.

Wow, think about that. The world is changing and a stat such as above will force huge changes. A topic for another day. See Cargill wants to change the lifestyle above since it means billions more in profit. Nothing wrong with that. But, who says they need more meat, milk or eggs. Michael Pollan talks about this in his books. Research shows countries with eating habits defined by hundreds of years of culture are actually healthier. Those that adapt the western diet immediately show higher instances of obesity and diabetes (and even cancer).

The second quote of importance.

everything we can do to get people into Outback or Applebee's or anywhere they can use their money to buy a product they obviously prefer. Ten years ago, Cargill spent $500,000 marketing beef. This year, we'll spend $15 million on beef in support of our private brands and in co-support of brands we have in conjunction with Kroger's and other retailers.

Cargill has expanded their marketing budget by 2900% percent in ten years as of 2002. I wouldn't be surprised if it is closer to $20-25 million now. Incredible. Not only that, but Cargill is co-supporting other brands to expand the consumption of meat. I suspect this does not even include lobbying, which is most likely much higher.

I mentioned the data about Cargill earlier since I bet few of you have even heard of Cargill let alone knew about their influence.

Beef is big big business folks. Dont forget it. it even supports a magazine dedicated to meat production and management.

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