Selling Beef To A&W is Not Betrayal



Since A&W launched its raised without hormones campaign, many farmers and ranchers have expressed displeasure about the marketing tactics of A&W. The most popular post in the the life of RealAgriculture is Andrew Campbell’s column entitled I’m Done With Fearing Food and Done with A&W.

The anger has extended to the ranchers and feedyards participating in the program. A cloud of betrayal cloaks them as they anonymously go about their business.

Is that fair? I don’t think so at all, not in the least.

I have friends in the program. They love agriculture as much as you or I. So why the hard feelings from the rest of the agriculture brethren?

According to their most recent financial reports, the following three points have been achieved by the A&W Revenue Royalties Income Fund.

  • Same store sales growth up 7.6% for the year
  • Two year stacked same store sales growth +13.9%
  • Royalty Pool sales surpassed $1 Billion

So if A&W is expanding the raised without hormones beef market, and that’s providing opportunity for a small group of volunteers willing to participate, what is the problem?

A&W has been clear that they are importing hormone free beef from outside Canada and the United States. Many people are upset with this fact.

“But I want to support Canadian farmers and ranchers, not Australian beef.”

RELATED STORIES: A&W’s Trish Sahlstrom discusses the marketing campaign

Instead of getting too upset, remember that there are Canadian producers participating in the program. Industry speculation is that between 5-20% of A&W beef is currently sourced in Canada. A&W has stated repeatedly that they will not discuss percentages. What if, In five years, they offer 100% Canadian beef? Will you still be upset?

The commercials frustrate me too, but producers participating in the program have nothing to do with A&W’s advertising choices.

At beef meetings across the country we routinely talk of expanding markets and meeting the needs of the customer.  Maybe there are more opportunities in front of us that we refuse to access because we are too caught up in the norm.

Producers who are selling to A&W are not betraying the industry, they are marketing their beef based on an opportunity as presented. Isn’t this what a free market is all about?

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