In this video interview, Deidrea Mabry, Director of Scientific Communications and Technical Programs of AMSA, discusses the launch of AMSA’s new website TheMeatWeEat.com and how the website can help consumers learn more about the meat industry.
Andy Hanacek: Thanks for taking the time to talk to me at IPPE at the AMSA booth. I wanted to talk to you about some of the initiatives that AMSA has got going on. Specifically, a pretty cool consumer initiative [called] TheMeatWeEat.com, a new website you guys launched and are continually working on. Talk about the whys and the hows for TheMeatWeEat.com. Why did you guys develop it and how did you get the point you are at now?
Deidrea Mabry: So TheMeatWeEat.com is a project of the American Meat Science Association, and it’s one that we worked on for about two years. As we continue to work with our members and continue to interact with consumers, we felt the need for more information, fact-based resources that consumers can turn to when trying to make informed decisions of what to feed their family. That was the overall mission of TheMeatWeEat.com. Just to take information that our U.S. meat scientists have and share that information with consumers, whether it be about food preparation, food safety, cooking methods, cooking temperatures… creating videos to show different techniques and just help consumers have more resources available to them. So when they hear something breaking in the media [and] they’re not quite sure what it means, they have meat scientists that they can turn to and ask those questions. We also with this developed a portal that consumers can ask us questions. So if you scroll through the website and don’t see exactly what you are looking for, feel free to ask us a question, and then we will have someone follow up with you and help answer those questions you may have or maybe it is just some misinformation you receive or are trying to validate. [We can] shed some light on, so that’s kind of the overall mission to be there as a resource for consumers as they start searching the web for more information.
Hanacek: Can you give any examples of the early response to the website either from consumers or from the industry? Are there any examples of questions you’ve been asked that you’ve been able to help out with?
Mabry: So we launched this right before Thanksgiving , and so a lot of information was about turkey preparation. How do you handle a turkey, how do you store it, how do you chill it, what to do with leftovers. Daily, we would push that out on the website. We would also have Facebook, Instagram, so different social media sites that we would share that with. Within the first two days, we had over 800 Likes on our Facebook page, so that was really responsive for us because consumers were taking that information off the website or off our social media platforms and sharing that with others. We had a lot of other industry partners and extension groups in the meat industry that would share that information as well. So for us, that’s a big win because that’s about sharing information and providing more resources for consumers, so we were pretty excited to see that type of response early on.
Hanacek: Talk about what the future holds for TheMeatWeEat.com. Still in its infancy here, but what is the short term plan and maybe a bit longer term plan?
Mabry: So it’s only been out about four months now, so as we move forward, the next phase is going to be more information on cuts of meat. As consumers go to the grocery store—I’ve experienced this myself when I’ve been at local grocery stores working with other consumers—they will find a cut of meat, but they won’t know how to prepare it, what they should do with it or how they should season it. So that’s the next phase… to take some of the information we have, show you where those cuts come from, show you how to cook them and, as we move forward, have a recipe bank from some of the different events we host and say here are some new recipes you can try out. Another phase we are going to be doing is really trying to showcase the current research we have going on, especially in food safety, meat quality [and] other things consumers want to hear more about, and [we will] have a section of our website that talks about some of the new research coming out and links to those open access journals, so consumers if they want to can dive into the full research and just become more transparent with what we in the meat industry are doing and help consumers know there’s lots of information out there and we hope they use TheMeatWeEat.com as a great resource to help find that information.