I’m Done with fearing food and done with A&W: Andrew Campbell

There are hormones in your food! What’s worse, they are in you! Alarmed yet? You shouldn’t be, and I’ll tell you why, plus why I’m done with marketing gimmicks and done with A&W Canada.

Yes, there are hormones in your food, but are they something to fear? A&W certainly thinks so, with a new campaign promoting their beef burgers produced with “no added hormones or steroids”. It is good to know a company that says, “Being a leader isn’t always easy – but doing the right thing rarely is,” is clearly only interested in selling a few more hamburgers because of fear, rather than educating a skeptical customer.

First point: You have hormones in you right now, and whether you eat a Teen Burger or not isn’t going to change that. In fact, you may even be taking additional hormones to help keep you from getting pregnant, lessen the effects of menopause, or an incredible host of other concerns and issues. Hormones also are natural in every other living thing from a soybean plant to a duck. It is why A&W has to promote there are not ‘added’ hormones, and can’t get away with saying hormone-free. (Despite the fact A&W promoted a news article that got the facts wrong in the very first line)

The bun on the burger would have more estrogen than a beef patty from an animal once treated with a hormone

My second point takes us back to the farm. In Canada and the U.S., an animal can be given a hormone (also called growth promotant) early on. Growth promtants improve the animal’s ability to process the food they eat into muscle tissue. It works via a tiny implant placed under the skin of the ear. These are slow-release products that last about 180 days, but are used long before (at least 200 days) an animal heads to market. Why do it? With the help of hormones already circulating in all of us, these animals convert their food into muscle more efficiently — it means less crops are needed to feed that animal and therefore less manure is produced. Sarah Schultz, who blogs at Nurse Loves Farmer, pulled the stats from the Beef Cattle Research Council, and explains in her blog post on the topic, that if we didn’t use these tiny implants, it would take 12% more cattle, 11% more feed, and 10% more land to produce the same amount of beef as we are producing today. It would also mean 10% more greenhouse gases because of the increased manure. That is a huge positive environmental impact for such a tiny implant.

Third point (and this is where I really find A&W’s commitment to fear shine), Iowa State University highlighted the ‘estrogenic activity’ of a number of foods (read it here). In 500 grams of beef (or more than an entire pound) not given the added hormone, there are 5 nanograms of estrogen (ng). In an entire pound of beef given that little injection, there are 7 ng. Big difference? Not if you look at the fact your body, very naturally produced 136,000 nanograms of estrogen today, if you are a man. As a woman, you’ll produce 513,000 nanograms per day, and the mood swings that your pregnant friend seems to be feeling could be because of the almost 20 million nanograms she is producing each and every day. And we are bickering over 2? (In case you are curious,peanuts show up on the scale at 100,000 ng, white bread 300,000,ng and tofu at 113 million nanograms for the same 500g. So yes, the bun on the burger would have more estrogen than a beef patty from an animal once treated with a hormone. Also, birth control pills contain 20,000 to 50,000 ng). The Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations also has a report on the use, and backs up what Iowa State found– that the contribution to my system of a beef animal treated with a hormone relative to what I produce on my own is 0.00025%. And eating at A&W, despite what they want you to believe, can’t even make that zero.

(Scrolling halfway down this UN report, you’ll find information on impacts to testosterone and progesterone, two other very natural hormones that the implant impacts. And because you can’t have enough facts, find more support here from the Beef Information Centre here in Canada.)

So what do we do?

Well, I’m going to start by telling A&W that their cheeky campaign, that is only meant to play on fears and certainly not inform, isn’t going to cut it for me. In fact, I’m done with A&W. It certainly doesn’t help their cause that they don’t buy 100% Canadian, even though they pride themselves on their Canadian heritage – but that discussion can wait.

I hope you choose not to stand for this either. It is too bad to go after an iconic company like A&W like this, but food companies have got to get a hold of their marketing people and shake the fear, misinformation and down right dirty tricks out.

Let’s shake some facts and common sense in, instead.

Talking about it on social media? Use #DoneWithAW.

 

 

Andrew Campbell

Andrew is a dairy farmer in southern Ontario who also specializes in helping farmers learn about social media and advocacy. Once broadcasting farm news reports on the radio, he still likes to keep a close eye on news and issues relating to agriculture. Andrew is the owner of Fresh Air Media (http://www.thefreshair.ca), has a mild addiction to Twitter and believes the Brier & Scotties are the most important sporting events in the country. @FreshAirFarmer

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118 Comments

Romy Schill

BRAVO! Consumers are being “lied” to just so someone can sell more product and make even more money to line already cushy pockets. The other sad thing is that consumers believe the big corperations and don’t get the information first hand from the people who produce their food. The type of marketing used by companies like A&W really hurts farmers and just adds another thing to the list of practices they need to defend. Who do you believe …. the farmer who grows your food or the guy who gets paid millions of dollars to tell you what and how to eat?!?!

Reply
ian

There’s no doubt that farmers care about food safety but there’s no way for them to know the long term consequences of their agricultural practices. Why should the consumer trust them?

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Stacy Green

Because the consumer would have died 10,000 years ago if the farmers weren’t worthy of trust. The long term consequences of farming technology and practices, have been measured for several millennia.

Suggesting it isn’t in the best interest of a farmer to have healthy consumers is perhaps one of the least intelligent perspectives ever conceived.

Fact is,

itsanaddiction

I’m not sure I agree with all of your statement Stacy.

Some farming practices can be measured over millennia (planting seeds, tending livestock), and those methods have proven themselves safe to the consumer. But there are some that have been implemented in the last century, which can’t be quantified in the same way.

The study and implementation of hormones, through injection, as well as direct genetic modification (not just cross-breeding varieties) are methods that have evolved due to scientific advances in the last century, and are only initial examples of methods that are not able to be quantified the same way as millennia-old practices can be.

It’s understandable why the consumer is afraid of these methods – they don’t truly understand how they work and what they do, because we’re now a society of specialists, and don’t understand all the processes within an industry, especially one that feeds us.

It’s also not a bad thing that the consumer fears these methods. Fear is a biological trait that has helped us survive for millennia. It keeps us from blithely pushing forward in areas beyond our comprehension, without understanding them first.

Our job, as an industry that has the responsibility of feeding society, is to prove beyond a doubt that there is no harm from these practices. And we’ve done a terrible job at that over the last 50 years – which is exactly why we have the problems with consumer understanding of GMOs et al today. We’re not the only ones to blame, consumers have steadily been less involved in food production. But that is no excuse for us.

The ag industry is changing. Constantly and more quickly then it ever has. The people within the industry, however, are not so quick to change. Let’s stop TELLING consumers their food is safe. Ignore the businesses and advertising agencies that are manipulating consumers lack of understanding. Focus on finding new and more effective ways of SHOWING consumers that their food is safe, and including them in the process of food produciton.

And we better be DAMN SURE that the food we are making, through all lines of the production chain, is safe. Because if we get 100 years down the road from today and we find adverse affects from ideas that we only researched for 5 years then implemented, we are collectively (as an industry) shooting ourselves in the foot.

– Tony

Andrew Campbell

Hi Ian. This practice has been used for 50 years. Is that not long term enough?

itsanaddiction

While the practice has been in use for 50 years, the variety of genes being used today is not completely comprised of genes that have been in use for 50 years. So the practice of GMO creation might be an effective and safe method, but the safety of all of the various combinations may not be. Businesses do not test, at length, the products that they create. It’s not cost-effective to do so. But farmers take no issue with using their products as soon as the government signs off.

It’s tough to fight the current business model, which (given all appearances) seems to be working. But I believe we’re also crazy to think we can’t do better, can’t take things one step further, strive for a more perfect imperfection.

Short answer: 50 years might be acceptable, but we’re not meeting that in all cases.

– Tony

charlene

I would argue that farmers are some of the most skeptical people out there and require a large amount of data before trying new technologies. They aren’t exactly mindless sheep as people can portray. Consumers aren’t either. It’s a matter of communicating and realizing no one in agriculture wants to create a product that knowingly hurts people. We try to pick the best and most efficient way of doing things and are pretty used to changes, so if there’s better stuff or something isn’t working moving on usually isn’t a problem.

itsanaddiction

Hmm…good point. I would only slightly disagree. You are absolutely correct that farmers are incredibly skeptical people. You can see it with the adoption rate of common technology in agriculture (ie mobile cellular phones) versus the average of the general public.

While some farmers do require hard data, there are also many who make decisions based on a trusted reference. That reference could be a seed/chem/feed rep, another farmer, vet, etc. Also, farmers are motivated by profits. They absolutely want to make the best, safest product, but not at the expense of profit for their work. So, yes, farmers are skeptical, but lets not pretend their only goal is food safety. For a farmer to be able to even think about food safety, (s)he has to know that their operation is making money – first and foremost – otherwise the operation is not sustainable.

So while a farmer tries to pick the best and most efficient way of doing things (no argument there), they are constricted by profit, as well as options. And often, those options presented to them are created by businesses, who are also motivated by profit, and are one more step away from the end product and perhaps even less concerned about the end result.

I feel like your statement assumes that the “better stuff” always coincides with the safest approach. That is not the case. Sometimes, the “better stuff” may have side-effects not well documented, or not of a major concern by the company that created said better stuff (see the medical industry, it happens all the time).

This is a stereotype, and I recognize that not all farmers fit the stereotype. But many follow the status quo. The ag industry isn’t above the rest of society either. We, as a society, are notoriously short sighted when it comes to the consequences of our actions. Do we truly know that what we’re doing right now is right? My observations of the science community, and their constant revisions of previously-thought-to-be “correct” answers, tells me that we don’t.

I’m not saying that what the ag industry is doing wrong. What I am saying is that there is always room for improvement. We often are so quick to disavow people and companies because they disagree with the general consensus in the ag industry. We are a very pushy industry, telling consumers that we think everything is okay, but not considering their opinions and taking them to task. We so rarely stop and ask “What if they’re right?” Instead, we immediately tell them that they are wrong.

If the ag industry wants to move forward, we need a different approach. I’m not sure what that approach is, but I think we do need more lines of communication, as it feels that there is a great deal of friction between consumers, producers and industry without it. We’re already on our way there, but not quite there yet.

andreweatscows

The fact you’re here is a pretty good reason to trust farmers. We’ve been feeding you and your ancestors for thousands of years.

Les Zeller

So, you would rather trust the big multi-national food companies instead of farmers, that’s really strange.

Brick22

Plain and simple the only reason a farmer would implant hormones into their stock is to make more money, same reason A&W are advertising as they do. That is what this whole world is about, $$$$$. Unfortunately agriculture is a business as well and most farmers do whatever they can to increase their bottom line regardless of the effects that their actions will have on the healthiness of the end product.

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bill kemm

You do realize Andrew that pharmaceutical hormones have side effects right an that adding hormones to animals or humans is unsafe an has health effects on not only the animal but the people that consume it or are u just totally ignorant to the facts somehow I doubt your that stupid an you care more about money than you do people or the planet for that matter

Jazmine Arden

So since I don’t know where to post a comment, I’m just going to reply to yours and say that I don’t think this has anything to do with scaring consumers. I think it has more to do with giving the consumer more options and their aim is also directed at making people just a LITTLE more curious as to what we are eating. I also think that this post shouldn’t just be focussed on the “added hormones and steroids”, but also the “preservative-free” meat. I think it is very important to not have preservatives in the meat. I’ve done research on how the meat is preserved by these factories, and it’s absolutely disgusting. I tried organic, hormone free, non preserved bacon and WOW! Huge difference. To my surprise it wasn’t salty! It tasted fresh and I was confident that it was not impacting my health in a negative way. I believe that sure, this guy has some good points, but I think he is also a tad bit narrow minded. Think about how much more demand there is going to be for healthier food in the fast food industry. Think of how many people will be raised with a healthy mind and body because of this small spark of interest that the consumers will have. Less diseases and more intelligence. People need to wake up a bit. Because of a&w changing their meat, it has sparked a high demand for hormone and steroid free beef, which will someday turn the pages for the whole fast food industry and keeps the farmers in business so that one day we WILL still have some hope at finding organic, GMO free food. Nobody wants to eat food that has been drenched in ammonia so that it doesn’t go bad in a week long trip unfrozen and should be rotten. Like really. Haven’t you ever noticed how freakishly tall some people are compared to other freakishly small people? Why is there such a huge gap I wonder? Oh did you ever think that maybe that so called tiny increase in hormones from disgusting hormone induced beef could have ANYTHING to do with our children being 11 feet tall compared to their parents who are less than 6.5 feet in genetics with no past genetics exceeding that height or you know, maybe those hormones are also adding to the disgusting increase in obese children with “hormone related issues that cause weight gain” as said by their doctor and labelled as an illness. You know why it is labelled as a “hormone related illness”? Because for some reason their hormones are imbalanced because of steroid induced meat and added hormones. This causes the body to react and usually this impacts the thyroid hormones first, and that means A LOT of problems for the natural function of your body. Open your eyes people. Maybe a&w did do this as a “trick” to increase their sales, but really why do you think they would choose THIS campaign instead of introducing some “healthy salad” like Mcshits did? Because there is an increase in demand for healthy alternatives obviously. I commend them. Supply and demand. Farmers are going to see a spike in sales for organic food now because of this. It’s PERFECT.

Reply
Donna

So you are proposing that all food should be grown organically (no hormones, no pesticides, no herbicides, preservatives, etc.). This will mean that anyone wanting fresh fruit/vegetables will have to live within 100 kms of the local “farmers market”. So everyone in Canada will have to move to BC and everyone in the US will have to move to California and Florida if they want fresh, organically grown fruits/vegetables because the last time I looked the rest of Canada doesn’t produce fruit/vegetables in the fall/winter/spring. If they don’t move, then the food will be rotten by the time it gets to them.

If you think that more people will be healthier with a hormone/pesticide/herbicide/preservative free world, think again. There is a reason that these products are used to produce food and keep it fresh in a “cheap food policy” world. Without their use, the reduction in yield, grade of grain and the diseases that attack those grains would put the world into a food deprived state…the only ones who would be eating would be the farmers…now there is supply and demand…the farmer could charge whatever price they wanted for the food you eat ($100 for a loaf of bread sounds good to me) because only the top 5% of the population of Canada would be able to afford it…the rest would starve or become ill. But what do we care about the rest of the world, right??? We don’t care if what we produce is healthy!!! We are out to poison the very consumer that buys our product (not to mention the millions of starving people throughout the world)!!!

You need to “open your eyes”, Jazmine, and do some “research” on the Economics of farming, Feeding the World and the “Cheap Food Policies” of the western world.

Stan

Donna, there is little use in talking to people like Jasmine. I’m with you when asking simple and obvious questions that she would not be able to answer. Guaranteed she the type that would rather see population control, by whatever means necessary, than to appreciate all the amazing gains in food production.
Are farmers not consumers as well? Do they only eat , what they themselves produce? Her statements about people getting bigger generally is a testament to the quality of food we are now consuming. Never in history have people lived as long and healthy on average. And don’t get me even started on the suggestion that somehow A and W knows exactly where their beef has come from and whether it was given a growth proponent or not. How childish

Mick

All I know is that A&W burgers do NOT taste as good with the new improved beef! Don’t know why, they just don’t and I’m not just saying that either as I tried one before I knew about the switch, I questioned the manager about it and that’s when I got the news so it was sort of a ‘blind taste test’ and it failed! It also bugs me that they use the ‘Trends of the day’ to make an extra buck, like doing away with the tin foil packaging(that kept our meal perfectly hot until we got to our destination.) and claiming that they were doing it to protect the environment. Sure, it may be fact but that is NOT the reason that they made this change, it was solely to make more money! Tin foil obviously costs way more to manufacture than recycled paper! I guess the ‘Environment’ comes first before their customer’s satisfaction of tasty HOT food!! I approached them asking if they would compromise by serving there products in paper when served in their restaurant but placing their food in tin foil packaging when ordered at their drive through window? I never received a reply!

Reply
Ham

So you think there should be licenses to drive a vehicle, go fishing, hunt, but not for breeding humans?
“So everyone in Canada will have to move to BC and everyone in the US will have to move to California and Florida if they want fresh, organically grown fruits/vegetables because the last time I looked the rest of Canada doesn’t produce fruit/vegetables in the fall/winter/spring. If they don’t move, then the food will be rotten by the time it gets to them.”

Yup. Too many people as it is. This big AG food doesn’t even taste like food, and the texture is fucked-up.

PS, you can grow indoors without using fossil fuel produced fertilizer, or gmo’s. And yes, I do charge several fold for the produce I create. And you know what? Apparently its worth it, as customers keep coming back in droves.

But by all means, produce those 1kg tomatos that taste like nothing at all.

K5 Farms

or you could realize that the consumers will buy the hormone free beef and livestock feedlots like Spring Creek Ranch are going to provide it to them, so instead of us always fighting lets give the consumer what they want. Have they not done so in the Milk Industry and now with gluten free products available everywhere even though Gluten is not necessarily healthier. Consumer want choices we have to support that to be heard!

Reply
Andrew Campbell

But this isn’t hormone free, no matter how hard companies try to sell it as such.

Reply
ian

People aren’t concerned about endogenous hormones…. they re concerned with added hormones.
ps. hormone therapy in menopause is not without some very serious side effects.

Andrew Campbell

But is 2ng per pound worth being concerned about Ian, especially when we aren’t seeing side effects because of how little that is compared to other foods – very natural foods – that carry thousands of times more, also with no side effects? I’d say too many are capitalizing on fears that aren’t based on fact.

DeborahWilson

And in some people it is extremely advantageous with no side effects. More comments with no experience or first hand knowledge!!!! I like facts, myself, as presented by Andrew.

Mike

They aren’t saying hormone free – they are saying “raised without additional hormones.” There is a difference. They also say a lot of other things about the beef on their information but they focus on hormones because that’s what market research says mattered to their customers. They simply delivered what customers asked for. Whose responsibility is it to inform? Consumers want choice and have the right to choice – whether those choices are misguided or not. You can argue all you want that there is no difference between a silver car and a red car but if the consumer wants the red car you can’t tell them they’re wrong.

You have every right to your opinion and choice. You are the same as any other consumer. But if you can’t convince the consumer then don’t blame A&W for giving them what they want. I like A&W. I always have and still buy there. But I also buy beef direct from my friend who runs a feedlot and uses implants. A&W is simply reflecting what the consumer is telling them. Don’t shoot the messenger. Don’t shoot the consumer either. If enough of them agree that no implant is more important to them than the environmental benefit then soon enough more people will be producing beef with no implant.

When Nike got in trouble for producing shoes with child labour they didn’t stand up and say 1) there is no difference in quality of the shoes produced by children 2) the money the children make helps support families in these countries 3) ETC . . . .The changed to give consumers what they wanted. Farmers can’t say take it or leave it if they don’t want people to leave it.

Leah

I think we need to mention that consumers are constantly influenced to think they know what choices they should have based on the industry! (as with A&W). A consumer who knows nothing about the hormone story watches TV to find A&W telling him/her that hormones are bad. The reality is the majority of consumers don’t have the capacity (time, knowledge, access to knowledge) to determine what is most accurate/supported by research.

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realag

Its funny that people know science is intelligent and researched but yet people want to believe something that an actor or actress said on tv. Its an interesting time for our culture.

Nancy Mead

And yet our own provincial Government promotes an
ad on TV that says it is so important to have truth in advertising
RIGHT, I don’t think so. Most of the ads are bogus at least the ones
I have seen. And they probably use the tax payers money for the ad too.

luke

does the fact that most cattle are corn fed have anything to do with the need for help in digesting? i’ve read some things stating that corn fed creates problems with e.coli in the cows stomach which leads to unnecessary “cleansing” treatments and medications.

Reply
Andrew Campbell

Hi Luke, Many producers use this when calves are on pasture too. The feed efficiency is improved no matter what form of feed.

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Brick22

Feeding cattle any grains causes issues with cattle. The only healthy way to raise cattle in a healthy was is on grass. Grass fed beef is by far the best way to go as a consumer. Unfortunately it is more expensive to raise.

Reply
intosh

Cows are not meant to eat corn. That’s why they get sick often and easily when they do, and consequently, producers give them antibiotics.

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Karen

If people are so concerned about their health, why are they eating fast food anyway?

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Leah

Interesting point – it draws in the consumer that might not eat at fast food restaurants for various reasons to now believe fast food is healthier now

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Yolanda

As a woman trying to conceive, it’s nice to know there are fast food options that won’t interfere with my regime. I can’t eat home made every single meal during the years it’s taking to get this thyroid under control.

intosh

Because not all fast foods are created equal?

Also, people “concerned” about their health does not necessarily mean they have to be a purist or a hardcore health addict. Besides, even people highly concerned about their health and well-being would allow themselves a “cheat day” once in a while.

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Horseshoe

You are missing the point. There is a lot more to consider are these natural or synthetic hormones? Why are they needed in the first place, so what if the cattle eat more food? In my part of the country this hormone treatment is pretty well unheard of, natural is the best.

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Lemmer

What is natural about how you live?? Why do you have different rules/standards for different segments of your lifestyle? Have you asked your accountant to do your taxes the natural way?? Have you asked A&W to grill their burgers on a open fire pit?? Have you asked Samsung to send you messages via carrier pigeon?? Go row to Hawaii?? The only unsafe thing about the foods north americans eat today is how much they eat. We over eat!! Dont blame the food & producers. We waste 40% pre-retail. Its a crime!! & still not good enough? C’m on.!!

Reply
Cecile cameron

I am a beef producer that produces one of the best products in the world. Why do people think they are getting better from any other producer oversees. Canada is highly regulated. One other question , of course the one that I am most concerned about, is how these fast food chains are guaranteeing anything. There are natural hormones in meat. Also… do they pay big bucks for testing of antibiotics. This is all a marketing hoax. They all are just buying poorly regulated meat from oversees and calling it safe.

Digital Ricky

I agree with horseShoe. You focus on estrogen, fat increase, but not on the other two anabolic steroids, testostrone and trenbolone.

There’s a reason for the time limit before slaughter, otherwise there would be a risk to human endocrine health.

Just ask the East German Women’s Olympic team how well this worked out for them.

Maybe you should be digging a little deeper to why white bread has such a high level of estogen?

Might have something to do with the ridiculous amounts of pesticides used in there production.

Two FYI’s;

1)Manitoba Agriculture along with the Federal Agricultural Department promoted 2-4-D (take a google of agent Orange and Vietnam) as a safe all purpose pesticide for 50 years.

It’s just been banned for being the culprit of causing cancer, most notably prostate cancer in men, once it gets into the water table you can’t get it out.

Europe banned it 10 years before hand.

2) My family has cattle farmed for 4 generations, and our “table beef” never sees a hormone or antibiotic.

Get Big-Ag and Big-Government out of farming.

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Buzzard

2,4-D is not banned. 2,4,5-T was part of Agent Orange, yes, but that derivative was contaminated with dioxin causing the human issues.
Please get your facts straight before providing “FYI” s. It is this type of comment that makes the public nervous.

Reply
Bill

FYI — Digital Ricky is a paid Organic troll. Case in point, his poorly written and innacurate, untrue “FYI’s”, and the use of the phrase “Big-ag.” I don’t have a clue how you can think an application of pesticide on wheat can add estrogen? Obviously you have no idea how pesticides work or how a plant metabolizes them, maybe educate yourself on the topic you intend to talk about before you make yourself look like an idiot

Reply
bojah

Dear Bill, I believe you meant “inaccurate”. I didn’t want you to make yourself look like an idiot….. and for the rest of you, you think the high paid farmers and company executives eat different food than us? The answer is no, its supply and demand. It seems that people have nothing better to do than complain or think that there is a huge conspiracy about our governments and industries. If you plan on continuing to complain about food, I suggest that you be proactive and maybe become a farmer and grow your own garden (non-GMO seeds of course) and farm your own cows and chickens. What’s that? Ohhh right, you can’t….hmm… Well then, city slickers, I guess you’ll just have to buy and eat what is available. I don’t know about you, but a Mozza Burger sounds delicious right about now :p
P.S. Booooo Bill Boooooo

RobertWager

Thanks for a great blog. Fear marketing really annoys me and when pseudo-science directs public policy we get bad public policy.

Reply
Rob Wallbridge

Are you sure you’re commenting on the right post? If you call this fear-marketing, you’ve got a lot to learn about fear-marketing. And if you’re mistaking a fast-food advertisement for public policy, we’ve got even more to talk about!

Reply
David Latendresse

Rob,

We have debated this before, but are you honestly telling me that, you don’t believe for one second, that the A&W marketing people are not playing on peoples fears, and lack of information on hormones, in this campaign to sway them to eat their burgers?

I agree with you, it is not to the extent of Chipotle and Panera, but it is marketing based on peoples fears of these “added hormones.

Rob Wallbridge

Thanks, Andrew, for providing some facts and context about the “added hormone” issue. Now let’s consider a few facts about the A&W campaign.

First of all, they are simply providing a choice to consumers who care about an issue like this. Obviously, lots of you care about the country of origin, and yet no one has thought to call you out for promoting fear, misinformation, and dirty tricks about American or Australian beef.
You say that’s because you never said anything bad about non-Canadian beef, right?
Well, please show me all the bad things that A&W has said about beef grown using hormone implants.
Fact is, they haven’t. They’ve just told you the story of how their beef is produced. Unlike Chipotle or Panera, they’ve done it without using negative imagery of their competition (no scary-looking needles, or steroid-enhanced cartoon bulls) Telling our story – isn’t that what all these social media gurus are telling us we should be doing? Hmm…

Well then, you huff, they shouldn’t be calling it “better” beef.
Here’s a hint: flip through your favourite farm magazine or newspaper and check out the ads: I did today, and immediately found one telling me that the “best” farm equipment had just gotten “better” and “smarter”. Another one told me that using their maintenance and parts program would make me “farm smarter.” Should I call for a boycott of these manufacturers because they are implying that my equipment is bad, or that because I don’t use their program I’m a dumb farmer? The more I think about it, the more I worry that I don’t have the right equipment, or that I’m not farming smart enough – those damn fear-mongerers!
It’s called marketing and advertising instead of educational programming for a reason, folks.

On the topic of 100% Canadian, A&W says that they can’t source enough beef that meets their specifications. Spring Creek Ranch, their Canadian supplier, says they’re eager to talk to other ranchers about joining their program (which pays a premium, by the way). Maybe instead of whining about being #DoneWithAW, Canadian ranchers should cowboy up and learn to #DealWithAW

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andrew

Ya I think I’m gonna agree with this guy. I raise conventional beef but this makes sense.

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Greg Bradley

This is the worst bunch of hog wash iv ever heard. We produce, and sell, and eat much more beef then we should, and speeding up their groth only adds to this problem. There is nothing stopping canadian farmers from raising cattle for A&W, or any other buyer. The only reason is the produsers greed, and that is fueling this propaganda. Wake up people..

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Courtney

No buddy you need to wake up and get your facts straight. This is not producers greed, this is fuelled by consumer perception from people ignorant to the real facts. Producers do not raise for A&W, they raise for slaughter companies that distribute the beef nation wide wherever it needs to go because 7 BILLION people in this world have to eat. 75% of north americas beef slaughter is run by 3-5 major companies (Tyson, Cargill, JBS, etc.). You may think we have all the beef in the world but producer numbers are declining because we get run over by consumer perception, those big companies sure aren’t suffering the consequences from it. in 2015 there will be a DEMAND for feeder cattle. Go read a few scientific studies done on hormone implants in feedlot cattle and beef market reports then open your mouth.

Neil Fedder

this guy is a crackpot. If he doesnt lke a & w thats his problem. and to top it off he is one of the dairy farmers ripping off Canadians.

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itsanaddiction

I believe Lyndsey already indicated that you should be a little more careful with what you’re writing. It’s not necessary to be so disrespectful here.

I’ve met him in person. Andrew is a fine, upstanding, and productive agricultural and media enthusiast. There’s no reason to slander and insult him. He has indicated an interesting topic, and has kicked off a heated discussion about it.

Everyone is able to voice their opinion, contribute to the discussion, don’t dilute it.

– Tony

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DeborahWilson

You live in a country where you spend the smallest percentage of your income, of most developed countries, on food. Where you can walk into any grocery store and have unlimited choices……and you have the gall to attack a farmer that milks his cows twice a day, 7 days a week, and has a huge investment in his business – he is ripping off Canadians??? I think the folks in this discussion that are so negative towards agriculture and the producers really need to go to a country where people are starving, they can’t afford the food that is produced. In many cases because agriculture is backwards in those countries they can’t produce enough food to feed their people. So all the rhetoric about safe food production is ridiculous, because this individual wouldn’t pay for higher priced food produced without the scientific advances. He is already bitching about dairy farmers. Imagine if his food doubled in price and there was a shortage of it as well!
So yes we are crackpots that use the best accepted practices to produce food, while attempting to pay our bills and support our families.

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Neil Fedder

what i really fear is assholes such as andrew cambell who use fear issues to induce more fear and slag a reputable Canadian Company at that. im wondering what a&w did to get your nickers in knots. truly a moron of epic proportions

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Lyndsey Smith

Hey, Neil — let’s keep this a respectful dialogue. Name calling is not OK, and certainly doesn’t add to your credibility. You can disagree and make your point without that.

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Neil Fedder

you assume that i wanted to open a dialogue which i was not, just stating my opinion that i believe he is a moronic asshole.

Guertez

It’s like some companies out there promoting bottled water as gluten free…. I’ve seen that one pulled too!

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JW

Talk to me when you get a disease called endometriosis that’s caused by estrogen dominance that destroys your fertility. Estrogen dominance is an unbalance of hormones caused by the foods we eat. Then tell me all these added hormones are safe. Maybe do some actual research instead of just swallowing what the government and big ag tells you. They are out to make money, no concern for our health.

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JSM

I’m a dairy farmer, and I, too, have endometriosis. However,I would suggest you take your own advice and do some research. Perhaps about how strict our government is in regards to agriculture to ensure we produce safe, quality product.

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realag

JW, Endometriosis is not caused by cattle that have been supplemented with antibiotics (medicine).

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HoldOnASecond

Even medical professionals don’t know for sure what causes endometriosis, though there are a lot of theories: retrograde menstruation, surgical scars, endometrial cell movement in bloodstream etc. I have yet to find any legitimate source that cautions on food choice (especially the safe, regulated food we have in Canada).
Infertility is a common symptom, but not all women with endometriosis are infertile.

What’s this about actual research?

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Brooke Leystra

This is great Andrew! As a non farmer turned farmer I had a lot of misconceptions about agriculture and ag practices when I first became involved with the industry. It is sooo important to educate people regarding these practices and clarifying these misconceptions. I think as an industry it is our number one weakness. Great to see someone putting information out there and not letting companies like A&W use these inaccuracies to their advantage.

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JoAnn Alumbaugh

Great job Andrew. I’ll write about it on PorkNetwork and will link to your post. Hope everything is going well for you. Keep up the great work!

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Brick22

I agree with Karen, anyone concerned about their health would not even consider eating at any fast food place. For all of you who find it necessary to cut down the people who are concerned with this type of issue, just keep your head buried in the sand. Just because you eat something today and wake up tomorrow doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a negative effect on you. The effects of all the chemicals sprayed on our foods, hormones, antibiotics and anti-parasite chemicals used to raise livestock all builds up in our system over time. Our food is becoming more and more contaminated and processed every day, rates of disease such as cancer and other serious often unexplainable diseases increases daily as well. Coincidence, I hardly think so. See you in the chemo waiting room!

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realag

Just a heads up eating burgers from A&W does not cause cancer. Lets rely on science instead of your suggested coincidence.

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Lucas

A dairy farmer telling us how a corporation is taking advantage of us with misleading marketing? Go drink some raw milk. Oh wait, that is apparently bad for you, and as a result is illegal. Milk farmers rip of the consumer with marketing propaganda more than any organization in Canada. Maybe we should listen to the ‘expert’?

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OrganicBeliever

Raw milk saved my sons life. All the crap (synthetic this and that) causes all sorts of diseases. It is common knowledge and proven to be true. Since we have changed to organics, we have become a whole lot healthier…we know lots of people that have had the same results.

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Turfy

“We” (the average consumer) know very
little about farm practices, hormones and their effect on the human
body. A responsible advertiser does not prey on this lack of knowledge
in my opinion.
They are not so much putting “fear” into the
consumer, but they are certainly (not so) subtly implying that their “No
Hormone Added” beef is somehow healthier. As Karen and others have
pointed out below… “health conscious” people generally don’t eat fast
food. But that’s the market that they are hoping to draw in with this kind of campaign. This is a case of “a little bit of knowledge being a dangerous thing”.

The long post above from Rob implies that we should stop fighting what the consumer wants and simply join it. He simply throws all of Andrew’s reasoning out the window – remember the part about reducing inputs and greenhouse gasses? Not to mention cost to produce which gets passed onto the consumer? A&W is not the only one consuming beef in Canada… we all are, and if suddenly the cost of beef went up 10-12% across the board we’d all be in trouble. Especially when you consider the almost insignificant decrease in the so-called evil hormones.

This ad campaign does not LIE, but it does MISLEAD. When the Ontario government banned aesthetic pesticides they came out with a statement saying that (I’m paraphrasing slightly) “Parks and playgrounds will become *SAFER* places for children across Ontario as (enter our hero) Dalton McGuinty has passed a law which will make it illegal to spray pesticides for aesthetic purposes” Safer? By how much? Can you prove it? How much were these children being exposed to the pesticides in the first place? I thought Health and Environment Canada told us these products were safe when used as directed??

Ohhhh I get it… Dalton McGuinty just wanted to “appear” like an environmental steward so he made a sweeping judgement and used very vague language to make environmentalists vote for him again. Silly me… Duped again.

I’m not going to go so far as to boycott A&W, mostly cause I really like their Teen Burger. But this is a very stark example of why its important to do your own research; .edu’s not .coms!

Thanks for the read Andrew!

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dandrew

People with no knowledge of whats going on In the agriculture industries are easily mis led. What they see advertised is what they belive so its important to let them know . Thanks Andrew

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Trevor Martens

First off, thank you Andrew for an informative article. The biggest issue across the board for the food industry is the lack of consumer knowledge and understanding. I appreciate that there is a big push in the food industry to be more upfront with consumers about what goes in to their, however, this unfortunately doesn’t come without negative effects as well. It’s scary when people use social media to push their ideas when they only know half of the story. It’s easy for anyone to tell the world that they think added hormones are bad for you (another personal favourite topic is how fats are bad from you, and need to be eliminated from your food), with little background information on the topic. People need to take the time to thoroughly understand the topic before they start giving the world inaccurate or misguided information. I think a big point which should be re-stated (thank you to whoever mentioned this previously) is that yes, there may be 2 nanograms of estrogen more in your burger, but you shouldn’t be eating fast food regularly enough that it would affect you. If your eating enough fast food burgers for them to increase the amount of estrogen in your body, you have much bigger issues!

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Random Person Of The Interwebs

the thing about hormones it that if a cow has no hormones in it the cow would never grow… AT ALL. of course they can’t say hormone free, every single cow on earth will have hormones in it and there is nothing that people would ever want to do about it if they could because a cow without hormones at all wouldn’t happen because how is the cow going to grow inside the mothers stomach… basically A&W can’t say “hormone free” is because not even actual “organic” at home farmers can’t.

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Random Person Of The Interwebs

on the last sentence i meant to say… basically A&W can’t say “hormone free” is because not even actual “organic” at home farmers “CAN”.

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james n

i totally agree with this article. I have had enough of a and w as well. it makes them sound like they are heroes. I cant imagine how much salt that is in their burgers but you don’t hear them talking about that.

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Alberta farmer

This is just a way to justify importing beef. Yes Canada can produce hormone free beef but A&W won’t pay the premium required to produce it and want to go back to cheap imported beef from the Australian outback. The Canadian beef herd has and still is declining and will continue to do so if companies like A&W resume importing cheap foreign beef.

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Dean

I am a beef producer and will not produce beef for A&W but will be happy for the Canadian producers that do. I hope it is Canadian beef. I will still eat at A&W not because hormones but the meal and root beer that they serve. Last time I checked A&W ad says added hormones, not no hormones and if consumers in this free country wish this and willing to pay more for it, great for them and the producers doing the extra work to produce it.

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Lori Wheeler

Funny that you are so “done with A&W” because of this latest marketing gimmick to get more business when you are a dairy farmer following the Milk Marketing Board and all their current advertising on tv etc because of declining sales with all the alternatives now with almond “milk” etc. People are finally waking up that “milk does NOT do the body good” and all the other brainwashing they’ve done in the past. Each mammal’s milk is designed for their infant of their own species. Once weaned off mother’s milk the species should not be given milk from another species, makes no sense what so ever! But that is just the beginning of the dairy industry wrongs! Poor dairy cows pregnant year after year until they are just worn out and sent to slaughter, their babies taken away from them so that greedy humans can have the milk that was designed and meant for them. Please Andrew do what is right and give up that dairy business and stick with your radio broadcasts and news!

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Jacob

People, do not listen to the this “author.” “too bad A&W didn’t open 100% Canadian beef instead of 100% hormone free”…. You have got to be kidding me. Why do they have to be two opposing ideas? This post will likely be edited because, after all, I am not agreeing with the troll posts above mine. Regardless, this is wrong, Cattle are not commodities that are to be pumped full of hormones and antibiotics as a means of making the biggest buck, they are animals. so, please, go look for a “Canadian chain selling Canadian beef” because nothing tastes better than a cow that lived a unhappy, unhealthy, unnatural, inhumane, greed inflicted, hormone pumped, antibiotic-y life.

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cows eat grass

A&W can save millions by using off shore trim to dilute that non implanted beef. Our cows are not implanted either, they just keep Canadian ranchers paying taxes, and making a home for the deer and all of God’s creatures.

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Lemmer

Excellent article Andrew!! Well written & researched. The discussion is hugely interesting? My only comment……North Americans , need to go hungry only for one long weekend. Then add to this discussion! Besides ….. The foods we might consume from “less technology” sourced, may not be as healthy as we imagine.

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ridersfan

A&W is still yummiest, even if the writer is pissed at them, burger king and mcdonalds don’t taste near as good… and have probably all had dumb advertising at some point.

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JCMAC

Thank you for this article! As an animal health student from Alberta I have learned many of these things and was trying to find a way to express this A&W silliness on social media. You have put it much better than I could have!

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john blenkiron

If we’re talking about the artificial growth hormone recombinant bovine somatotropin, also known as rBST or rBGH which is produced by Monsanto I agree there is nothing to fear. Would a company that gave us Agent Orange, Roundup resistant crops and Aspartame sell us a bill of goods? Let’s wait until the results of the experiment are tallied. We are the guinea pigs. Don’t let the fear of food stop the maximization of beef industry profits. All fast food is crap that should be feared as well.

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Connie

Sourcing the ground beef? Breeding cattle; cows or bulls exiting herds (no longer viable reproducers) do not – have not – received implants/hormones. Almost 100% of the beef from culled breeding stock is ground … beef that varies from lean to well marbled. I don’t understand why A & W has to import beef?

Perhaps our beef industry can sell the ground beef domestically or export it for more $/pound than good ol’ A & W is willing to pay???? Hence, the company’s cop-out excuse that they can’t source domestically … If I was a betting person; I bet A & W could source their ground beef needs domestically if they were willing to ‘up’ their purchasing power!

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Mich Pea

Knew right from the 1st time I seen the Ad that Anyone in Agriculture – Or Anyone who had the least little clue should realize this was fear type marketting. I promise to A&W to NEVER eat at one of their outlets again.. Simply because of the damage this type of Marketting does to the Beef Industry. Hopefully a lot of people will think like-wise.

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intosh

A&W burgers taste good. They are classic homemade-styled burgers, better than crap from Burger King and McD, hands down. With no added steriods and hormones, it makes it a even better alternative to these other chains. Of course, it’s still fast food so moderation is essential.

So despite whatever the “experts” may say, when I’m craving for a burger, I’ll opt for A&W, which is the more “natural” option. Just too bad the beef is not from Canada.

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dragonseye9

I’m pretty sure the person who wrote this article was paid by McDonalds to do so. A lot of people are very concerned about how beef is raised because of the health concerns around rBGH, antibiotics, and slaughterhouse waste being fed back to the animals (mad cow disease). Its improbable that A&W cares particularly about the health of their clients since the mayonnaise is made with canola (GMO) and the fries are cooked in it as well as a long list of other unhealthy ingredients in the food, but at least they are making some kind of effort.

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Christopher David Gauthier

Interesting that the part of the campaign that really caught my eye was the humane and sustainable part.
I read no fear mongering in the campaign (what are you afraid of Andrew?) And I support the campaign. I also took the time to go to the website and read a little more about some of the ranches involved. Those ranchers are on the right track in my book.

Could it help move some potential burger buyers over to A&W from another chain?
Yup it could. (I no longer eat fast food burgers etc due to state of beef & other industries, but on a rare occasion I might now take A&W as a “better” choice. Please note I did not say perfect. You won’t likely convince me it’s worse!)
Might other chains respond by insisting their beef met same or similar criteria? (And therefore a move away from truly unsustainable inhumane factory farm beef?) It might.
Would that be a bad thing? Nope!

(Do we eat too much meat? Yup but thats another story.)

Is all A&W beef Canadian? Nope because Canadian ranches cannot currently meet the demand, but as the demand rises, perhaps more Canadian ranchers will look at more sustainable practices.

Is this one campaign perfect?
Nope, but honestly your attack is so negative one almost feels like you’re working for the competition.
Yes Hormone is a buzz word, but does any of your dairy go into light/lite products? Do these products play on fears? (Yup, they do. But I’ve educated myself enough to feel that full fat dairy in reasonable amounts won’t hurt anyone, not even cholesterol watching me.)
You want someone to attack?
Try Monsanto (“terminator seeds” anyone?)
Or Coke for their refusal to make a strong public statement on anti-gay laws in their current olympic Cash Cow, Russia.
Or anyone doing something negative.
Promoting sustainable, humanely raised, and prophylactic hormone/antibiotic/steroid free cattle is NOT a negative in my book.
Think again.

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AnimalFriend

It may be hormone and steroid free, but the cows probably still get antibiotics in order to survive their lifecycle preparation for being slaughtered. The ad provides an incomplete picture of goodness.

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Concerned

I don’t want to eat beef, drink milk that they are adding this crap to. One study says its safe and another says its not safe. Its probably more safe if you don’t add this crap to our food.

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jason broderick

The hormones in u are supposed to be there
The ones in artifically hormone injected beef are not
Simple as that
Obviously u have not taken or learned anything in your science classes at university

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Anna

This is extremely misleading. You don’t give animals hormones because you’re concerned about the environment. Cattle producers give animals hormones so that they can grow as big as possible in the shortest amount of time, so that they’re worth more when it comes time to be butchered or sold. Thats the bottom line. The same thing is done with chickens. If you truly cared about the animals, or human beings, you’d grass feed them like they were MEANT to be fed, and give them time to grow on their own as nature intended. Furthermore, sure we have hormones in our body. They’re produced when we need them, in the amounts that we need them and closely regulated by various complex physiological mechanisms. But this does NOT mean that taking in hormones from external sources is no big deal. There’s a reason medications containing hormones are not just sold on the shelf. There’s a reason that taking steroids has such a drastic impact on the body. Think about what you’re saying. You begin by saying that hormones are used to prevent pregnancy and then go on to say that hormones are no big deal. THINK about this. One tiny pill with only 20 MICROGRAMS OF HORMONE IN IT is enough to STOP THE VERY PROCESS THAT A WOMEN’S BODY WAS ANATOMICALLY DESIGNED TO CARRY OUT. Heavy beer drinkers begin to develop what look like small breasts because ESTROGEN is found in beer. Sure, having a burger once a month is not going to harm you. But there is nothing wrong with A&W choosing to go hormone free. I grew up in a family that raised grass fed cattle and there is a significant difference between that meat, and the shit that comes from big producers, who pump their animals with hormones and antibiotics just to make more money. It literally tastes different. So maybe the small amounts of hormone in these products aren’t the problem, but you might want to reconsider the arguments you use to prove your points.

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Michelle P

There is alot of interesting points below (& alot of BS too!) BUT… bottomline… I agree with the fact that A&W is being very opportunistic and using public STUPIDITY to damage the Agricultural Industry’s reputation. For this reason alone – I WILL NEVER EAT AT AN A&W RESTAURANT AGAIN. I think its too damn bad that others who ‘realize’ the damage they are doing (& I’m talking the Urban population), don’t also do this. Its an enormous task for the agriculural industry to educate and keep up with the ever-growing propaganda produced in urban centres. But we better try. AND.. for all the claims A&W makes about non-treated animals… they must have one helluva big ‘Dead’ pile of beef somewhere, because cattle – just like humans – Do get sick and die if they are not helped with Anti-biotics.

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Michelle P

Alot of good (& some BS) comments here) but bottom line A&W is using PUBLIC STUPIDITY to instill doubt that ‘regular’ beef is not safe. I’ll never eat there again, and hopefully everyone else with a few smarts doesn’t either. I think this ad has really harmed and escalated negative vibes to the Canadian Agricultural industry. Its a big task to educate Urban people who have totally lost touch with any knowledge about where food comes from. They want the ‘easy’ route to everything, including not being bothered by knowing where things come from… just that it gets there. Seriously, A&W and their ‘special’ producers must have one helluva big ‘dead beef pile’, cattle get sick & just like humans – they die without anti-biotics. And if this dead pile doesn’t exist… well does that mean they sell into the ‘regular’ market these treated animals? Think about it.

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Amanda

its still a better campaign than mcdonalds. with their over prosessed foods. I’d rather eat at a&w than mcdonalds. actually I havent eaten from either in 3 years. lol

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Paul Smith

The ads will keep coming faster than the facts, sadly. And issues are glossed over:

The biggest supply of hormones in our environement? Human sewage. As Andrew points out, women/pregnant women flush estrogen concentrated urine at 1,000,000 times whats in beef several times a day. Nitrifying bacteria in tertiary municipal waste facilities convert these estrogen protiens to carbon dioxide quickly, but Env Canada says only about a third of Canada’s cities have tertiary systems, and not a single septic field does. We flood our water supplies with estrogen, and have been since we first walked the earth. Like all protiens, hormones degrade readily in soil, oxygenated water and recylce in the food chain as nitrogen and CO2 for plants.

People lump everything in the “dioxin, PCB, agent orange franken-food” basket. We, and the planet are fully capable of recylcing a few nanograms of extra protien, and our population rate is finally slowing down, thanks in large part to the estrogen in birth control pills… a subject that curiously didn’t get much attention in any readers comments.

We are truely bombarded with bits of misleading info to get us to buy stuff, and have an industrial history that should make us all try and be active contributors to good future decisions. Thanks Andrew for starting some reading and thought on my part.

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Joe Piscapo

Sounds like someone whos upset about his bottom line and not being able to compete with organic foods. Monsanto puppet who likes to shovel their horsesh*t into the mouths of regular people for a few extra bucks. Yea, lets think this through again, 10% more feed and land and all that needed when not using hormones, supposedly less meat and less yield.. obviously costing them more as a company.

Yea, that makes sense, Im sure they will see a 20%+ increase in customers? No. Its a commercial, it draws in like no one.

They LOSE money doing this, you lose money too because they wont buy your junk meat.

You watch, a few years from now youl be afraid to support Monsanto for fear of retribution.

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Lori

I’ll admit, I lean more towards labels like hormone-free and GMO-free simply because I don’t believe we’ve studied the long-term effects of these new practices. Yes, it’s partly out of fear, and yes, it’s partly out of scientific illiteracy. I did well in science in school, but that was twenty years ago. GMO was not a topic in my school’s curriculum.

I’m also skeptical because of all the money involved. (I’m the same with most science involving food nowadays.) Because I only hear about (and understand) studies as reported in the media, that’s what I base my judgments on. Sorry, but that’s unfortunately the way it is.

I’m not so hardcore anti-all-of-this that I won’t touch it. I buy what suits me for my household and enjoy what others cook when I’m visiting, at a restaurant, etc. The article makes some interesting points about the levels of hormones in a pound of beef vs. the same amount of other plant products. However, assuming those plant products haven’t been injected with something (there’s my scientific illiteracy coming to the fore), those hormones are natural to the plant. Science, by its very nature, discovers new knowledge everyday. I’m not sure we’re qualified enough as humans to say that we know for sure, at this stage, that manufacturing hormones, putting them into cattle, and then consuming even that tiny amount would not be harmful to us. An example from the vitamin industry would be vitamin A: Unless you live off of a ton of carrots (and other high-A foods) daily, you likely won’t harm yourself. But pop too many vitamin A tablets, and you could damage your liver. The vitamin has been taken out of context, so-to-speak, when taking vitamins. I don’t know if it could be the same with hormones.

I unfortunately didn’t have time to read all the comments, and indeed, a few were quite mean. But thank you, Andrew, for at least presenting the other side of the equation. I’m not 100% convinced, but I welcome the discussion.

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Jason

Compared to advertising by Chipotle, I don’t find A&W is using fear tactics. They’re saying what their beef is. That’s all. If people want to try and read between the lines and think they’re saying something else that’s their choice. That’s always an issue with advertising, books, religion, art, movies etc. People interpret things how they want to. The fact here is A&W is offering beef free of hormones and steroids and they’re choosing ranchers they believe are doing environmentally friendly ranching. They’re not saying anything else. They’re offering consumers a choice. Consumers tastes change all the time. A&W and ranchers can’t control that. What they can do and are doing is respond to that. As consumers we all want choice. No one wants to have only one choice for something especially when it comes to food. Why should A&W and their ranchers be vilified for offering choice?

A&W is trying to provide body healthy and earth healthy options. When compared to other fast food chains I’d saying they’re doing a pretty good job or at least making an attempt. Which is more than I can say for most fast food chains. I only have the information you have about A&W. I’ve looked at the websites of the ranchers they use and they seem like people who are passionate about raising cattle naturally and using innovative ways to make their ranches as “green” as possible. I believe the facts you posted about steroid/hormone fed cattle having benefits for the environment, but that’s only half of the issue. A lot of people want both a steroid/hormone free beef and for it be as environmentally friendly as possible. Based on the info you provided we’re not there yet, but if we stick with the status quo and the “if ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality we’ll never get there. Why can’t we have beef that is hormone/steroid free and is as environmentally friendly or better than non hormone/steroid free beef?

Unfortunately, ranchers who don’t want to respond to changing consumer tastes have an uphill battle. It’s going to be very hard to convince the general public that beef with added hormones and steroids is as good for them as beef without it. Whether there’s a difference or not the perception is there. The industry can choose to fight this perception or take a glass half full approach and ask “OK, people want this kind of beef, what can we do to make this a win,win for them and us?”

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David

I agree with Jason here. A&W is offering something other chains aren’t. If this was just a fear tactic then why isn’t McDonalds jumping on board? The truth here is McDonalds cannot offer this quality guarantee. There are people out there that desire food free from added steroids and hormones. Not only do they offer steroid and hormone free meat, but also it is 100% Pure Beef patties, I guess they are trying to use fear tactic that the other burger places really aren’t selling beef hamburgers!

Honestly, I stopped eating fast food because of their horrible quality and bad side effects, and one day I saw A&W’s guarantee, I tried their hamburgers. I have to say, based on taste, side effects, and how full I was after eating the food, I was quite impressed. I didn’t have the “fast food” stomach issues after. In my opinion, A&W food is top quality! Thanks A&W for setting a new bar in food quality.

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wayne

When we have researchers from Ag Canada and University professors going public on issues of the effects of pesticides on Human HEALTH, then hello people maybe we as producers should step back and start asking some questions about the safety of all these chemicals!! The greed of the almighty DOLLAR trumps common sense!!

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skeets saer

People who have a vested interest in something are more apt to act and speak irrationally regrading negative aspects of anything having to do with it. It would be a scare tactic if it was black and white that hormones, steroids and GMOs are bad or good for you. There may not be as many and they mostly fall into the group I just referenced, but there are scientists, farmers and politicians that will tell you that there is nothing wrong with them. As for my opinion, anything that is not natural is wrong, It is wonderful in our throw away society that companies would spend money to create a drug to reduce the stool output???? We seem to always forget that convenience is fraught with the propensity for unseen damage. So maybe it was that and not feeding the cows other cows that caused Mad Cow……..hmmm seems there is no hormone treatment for that. Comes back to a little passage I read somewhere. The love of money is the root of all evil. Corporations like Monsanto are prime examples; to forsake the health of people for the sake of money is one thing but to engage in the tactics and practices that they have used that seem to be for detriment of the entire living population. Did you know that Monsanto can be blamed for the rise of Mexican Drug cartels?????

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Kathleen M

Thank you for your article! I would be interested to read your thoughts/comments on McDonalds’ announcement about their chicken and human antibiotics and milk with the growth hormone….

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robert ford

Capitalism has been brain washing human beings for the last 300+ years: we can’t live without this gadget, without this car, without this tv, without this brand of clothing.Guess what : humans have been living on this earth for over a million years, capitalism will be long dead ,yet humans will still be living and making choices.

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JK

Do you actually know what you are talking about?? Do you actually know, for a fact, that hormones are put In beef besides what A&W tells you in their commercials? Honestly most beef farms don’t use hormones and only use antibiotics to treat sick cows. I personally would prefer to eat a cow treated with antibiotics than a cow that wasn’t treated and is sick. Sometimes people forget to use their common sense I think

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Jerome Racicot

I can’t believe a lot of the bull shit I’ve been reading. If people are so worried about what is in their food try growing your own food and raising your own meat and get back to their ancestral roots. I’m just saying people should be aware of where their food is coming from .

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Shirley Heft

No more A&W burgers for me. Now or in the future. They are liars and Canadians should never trust them again!

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Ralph jones

Starving people in Third world countries would love any kind of food.
If you don’t like a&w don’t eat there.
Try corn fed cattle if your looking for healthy beef that tastes great

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Peter

I go with what my Body tells me. I eat a Big Mac, I have trouble digesting it, I have a Whopper and it’s almost bad as the Big Mac, I try Wendys, some days I’m OK with it somedays I wish I didn’t touch it. A&W is the closest thing to home made that I’ve had yet. It doesn’t linger in my Gut for the rest of the day making me wish I never had it and by far the tastiest. Only thing better is home made. Many people I know agree. So Obviously it appears that A&W is doing something right. Looks like an article with special interest in mind.

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Travis N.

Sadly enough, the person who wrote this article is the only one who has associated “fear” with the A&W commercial. However you(writter of article) have drawn bias assumptions all throughout your article. Its a commercial, not a bioligy class. Thats the purpose of commercials(to gain business). Do you prefer being refered to as Detective or Captian Obvious?

Heres your cookie & gold star AndrewCampbell ??

PS… Im boycotting you Andrew Campbell ?

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Tonika

so meaning, all fast foods are the same they don’t serve healthy foods. specially A&W they don’t do what they preach, because they just want profit. there is no safe foods that are considered healthy that is serve and make from your own kitchen but beware ( use Certified Organic and Non GMO products only)

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Reverb surf

I don’t care about the hormones, whatsoever.

What I don’t like is that A&W changed pretty much everything they serve , other than the soft drinks.
I took the kids to the food court in the mall a few years ago, we got A&W.
The burger was different, it was not the fried patty covered with the seasoning salt that I was used to since I was a child.
This patty was bigger, almost tasted like it was boiled or something. The bun was larger , the whole thing was rather dry and bland.

The burger was more like the burgers you get from Appleby’s or Milestones , or Moxies.
I’m sure those places must get everything from the same supplier, and A&W’s new gourmet style burgers taste just like them.

Even the fries and onion rings are different, same ol generic chain restaurant flavor.
I thought it was just the fact the A&W was in the food court at the mall, until we stopped at another location.
Same food. I mean it isn’t terrible, just not at all the A&W from the past.

Not really a fan of the new improved “gourmet”? menu, I’d much rather go to Dairy Queen.

I cannot be the only person who is disappointed in the new improved menu??

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A&WWorker

Hi there, you comment stood out to me so I figured id give my input.

Iv’e been working in my aw for years and feel that I can speak on behalf of my location.

I also am not super well informed on what and how food hormones work, i’ll leave that to someone educated in said fields. From the sounds of it you likely visited an aw that either A) wasn’t following proper food handling procedures or B) possibly new people training who may have made mistakes with your order. Even in my town our mall location is know for not being as good as the stand alone locations like mine.

We use a flat top grill for our burgers , and we deal directly with our suppliers to get the exact kind of beef patties that separate our burgers from other fast food chains.

While I agree it definitely isn’t the same, its still generally high quality product. As of recently, all of our products, including the root beer, follows the companies new mantra.

For me personally i cant eat other fast food burgers, it just makes me sick compared to aw. Regarding the rings, they are all hand made including the batter. If the batter ingredients are not exact every time, then the rings can come out too soggy, too flaky, falling apart, stuck together, ect. May have just had a not quite perfect batch of rings.

All in all I still find the food to be some of the best you can ask for from fast food, and at the end of they day it’s still one of the healthier options compared to our competitors. although I wish they would bring back the whistledogs, those were pretty good ;).

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