No hormone label means something to consumers

Label may point out what some people already know, but it still makes people feel good when they see it.

While added hormones are not used and are even illegal in U.S. broiler production, many poultry companies still use labeling that identify their products as hormone-free.

However, the general consumer doesn’t realize that, and such labeling, even though seemingly unnecessary, does mean something to consumers, said Mike Loftus, Sprouts Farmers Market’s director of meat and seafood.

Loftus was a panelist in a discussion included in the 6th Annual Perdue Farms Animal Care Summit, held on October 6. The panel included Perdue customers, farmers, consumers and animal welfare advocates.

Loftus said that even though those familiar with U.S. broiler production know hormones are not used, the average consumer doesn’t know that, and seeing that label makes them feel good.

“They don’t understand they’re not allowed. That’s why, real honestly, pretty much everybody else who sells chicken still has on the package ‘no hormones added ever,’” said Loftus. “I believe customers believe it doesn’t matter what the protein is, they are given added hormones to help growth. I don’t think they understand it doesn’t really do any good in the short life cycle of a chicken. I think it’s a valid call-out to continue to try to educate consumers on, but they don’t have an understanding on what truly happens.”

Vera Sweeney, a New York resident who describes herself as a third-generation Perdue consumer, said she used to be one of those people. She actually learned that hormones aren’t used in poultry production from a friend, who wondered why the hormone-free label was even used.

“She enlightened me,” said Sweeney. “When I used to see that on certain packages, I was like, ‘oh, this company doesn’t have hormones.’ I believed that claim was specific to certain companies. I didn’t realize that was the industry standard, so I think that label actually works, if we’re being honest.”

Par : Roy Graber (07/10/2021)

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