|Duane A. Lienemann|
UNL Extension Educator
Burger chain Carl's Jr. released last week with something that is called NSFW (Not Safe for Work) Super Bowl advertisement, featuring a model who is expressing her preference for all things "all-natural." While it won't air in most of the country, you can catch it on YouTube at www.youtube.com/watch? v=4WTA_8waxTo&x-yt-cl=84503534&x-yt-ts=1421914688. The fast-food restaurant depicts her parading through a farmers' market, daring entrepreneurs that sell rear end shaped apples, to walk away from their stands and take a bite out of life. The descriptor of the video pretty much sums it up: “Charlotte McKinney loves going All-Natural, especially when it comes to her Carl's Jr. burger. Introducing fast food's first All-Natural Burger with grass-fed, free-range beef that has no added hormones, steroids, or antibiotics.”
I really can’t argue with their advertising acumen. Carl's Jr. does have a tweet that demonstrates their motto - #eatlikeyoumeanit. I guess this takes another step towards that theme. As I mentioned earlier, Carl's Jr. has gone the risque route before, but hasn't really backed down from the backlash that the commercials are objectifying and perhaps a little sexist. In today’s world I guess we shouldn’t be surprised. When it comes down to it, this kind of stuff sells and if nothing else, if it doesn’t make the Super Bowl Commercials list, they certainly will get more clicks on YouTube and more attention on social media. So it's a win-win for them, and I don't think they care one way or the other what feminists or politically correct people think about these ads. It is after all about attention and sales, but different approach than Chipotle.
I will have to admit that after watching the video, it took me a while to notice that the whole pitch was not only to sell hamburgers, but to show the world that they have a hamburger on their menu that has been raised from beef that is all-natural, grass-fed, free-range with no added hormones, steroids or antibiotics! It does go to show us though that there is a place with consumers for this niche market and gives us pause to think about the effect of what the consumer wants, or at the very least think that they want. There is room for all kinds of beef producers and quite honestly this is pretty clever!
Speaking of what a consumer “thinks they want”, I find it interesting that what I predicted about what the results of the HSUS backed Proposition 2 in California would be. It is coming to fruition. That law was passed by voters in 2008 and now is fully in affect. For you that don’t remember, it was the law that passed concerning how farmers could raise and house chickens. The basis of the law is that it required the state’s poultry farmers to house their hens in significantly larger cages which was prohibitive to many because of the cost. California’s cage law is part of the nationwide animal-rights misguided effort to raise the costs of animal food production in the name of more, well, humane treatment.
Many farmers have hung it up instead of complying, and those that did have had to raise their prices. The California legislature, in all their combined wisdom realized this would put home-state farmers at a disadvantage, so in 2010 it compounded the problem by requiring that eggs imported from other states come from farms meeting the same cage standards, effective Jan. 1, 2015. Did they even think of “double jeopardy?” That is the trouble with knee jerk reactions.
Government statistics show that the number of egg-laying chickens in California has fallen 23% in two years. Many farmers outside the state are choosing not to sell eggs to California, leaving egg brokers scouring the country for cage-compliant eggs and paying top dollar to meet demand in a state that has imported more than four billion eggs a year. If you understand the basic law of supply and demand, you know what the result have been, less eggs – higher prices.
California has a way of living up to the worst regulatory expectations, as grocery shoppers across the country are discovering. The state’s latest animal-rights march is levying a punishing new food tax on the nation’s poor. Egg prices are soaring in California, where the USDA says the average price for a dozen eggs is over $3.00, up from a little more than a $1.00/dozen a year ago. In some parts of the state it’s more than $5 per carton. All I can say is “I told you so!” What is the old adage? “When you make a nest, you must live in it!” I wonder what all the people who depended on low-priced eggs as a protein source for the families are liking their nests now? I wonder how long before we see the same result with hogs?
Unfortunately, this comes when egg demand is growing, in part because soaring meat prices have caused Americans to turn to other foods. Per capita consumption is expected to reach more than 260 eggs this year, the highest since 1983, according to the USDA. The poorest consumers have been hit hardest by the price spike because eggs have traditionally been a cheap source of protein. The attorneys general from several states, including Nebraska and Alabama, are suing California in federal court, but this will take time. If Californians want to pay a premium for local free-range chicken eggs, they have that right. But in my opinion, they shouldn’t be able to raise food costs for millions of families in an attempt to protect the state’s economy from their own stupid and destructive laws. But then, I guess that is politics!!!
The preceding information comes from the research and personal observations of the writer which may or may not reflect the views of UNL or UNL Extension. For more further information on these or other topics contact D. A. Lienemann, UNL Extension Educator for Webster County in Red Cloud, (402) 746-3417 or email to: firstname.lastname@example.org or go to the website at: http://www.webster.unl.edu/home