Editor-in-chief Andy Hanacek details the 10 things on his 2018 wish list for the meat and poultry industry.
Andy Hanacek: Ho! Ho! Ho! Happy Holiday! Merry Christmas—wait a minute… the holidays are over. I did make a list though, and I did check it twice.

Hey friends! Welcome to 2018! I hope your holiday season was relaxing and fun. I hope you got everything you wanted. Here’s what I would like in 2018. I’m not a big resolutions guy, so we will just call this my wish list for 2018 for the meat and poultry industry. 

First, it would be great if we took the number of recalls and shrunk them down significantly, particularly around allergens. The industry simply needs to do a better job here. We’ve got to hold our suppliers much more accountable. We’ve got to be on them like a hawk, and we’ve got to pay closer attention to our labels.

One thing, I got to tell you, I fear more than anything is that stupid norovirus. If we can find somebody to kill that thing off, boy, my stomach would be really happy with you.

I would love to see innovation in terms of beef processing. More robotics, more automation. That’d be cool.

How about no bloodshed? I’m not talking about wars. There are hundreds of thousands of workers in this industry who go day in and day out without hurting themselves, let alone killing themselves accidentally in equipment. Let’s get that select, little small group of employees who aren’t well-trained or choose not to be well-trained and get them on board. Let’s make it happen.

The industry has done really well with flavor combinations. I look at some of the other food segments, and I see some really ingenious stuff. One good example is the peanut butter and jelly burger. I had it a couple times at a couple places. It’s really good! Let’s do more of that.

What are your going to do with your lower corporate tax burden? What about your workers in your plants? Your middle-class, lower-class, sometimes poverty-level workers will need the help. Let’s set an example as an industry. Let’s take those additional profits and reinvest them into our people. 

Social media… you need to still keep an eye on social media, but I’m changing my tune and going to tell you, you cannot let it consume you. Keep an eye on it; answer the questions that the people have. Help them out where you can. On the marketing side of things, use it to your advantage. Offer coupons, offer insights, offer deals, tell stories. But don’t feed the trolls, because you will never win the trolls over.

I got another one for you, and this one is more for you up there, Mr. Video Editor, you know who you are. Can we please put Soccer Mom Andy to rest in 2018? Nobody wants to see that anymore.

In 2018, I’m looking for a scientific revolution. We all know statistics can be and almost always are manipulated by the number and spin wizards out there all to produce whatever desired outcome they want to feed to the consumers of information. Almost every one of those messages is backed by sometimes science, sometimes pseudo-science, and sometimes stuff that is made to sound like science. The consumer in many cases doesn’t know the difference. I would like to see science come back in 2018 in a big way, regardless of partisan politics, regardless of your side of the story. Your story, your message. Make sure it is backed up by legitimate sources, and by bullet proof science. 

You know what would be cool? It would be cool to see some of you here in the studio with me talking to me about the industry and doing some videos. You know you want to do it. 

And that’s what I would like to see in 2018.