The U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance series of Food Dialogues have worked to create a conversation between different parts of the food industry to help build understanding on both sides. This week the group has announced the next Food Dialogues event, which is scheduled for Minneapolis.
According to a meeting announcement, the event will focus on the farm to consumer issues and "bridging the gap between consumer concerns and food production and sourcing decisions."
Consumers are becoming increasingly concerned about the methods used to grow and raise food, and whether those practices are impacting their long term health. Steps are being taken by food companies, registered dietitians, and chefs to address these questions and better meet consumers' needs - including programs to share more information about the farms and ranches from which food is sourced.
Recently, General Mills announced it would move toward buying cage free eggs. While the company didn't put a deadline on the decision, and also is not a large egg consumer compared to some food companies, it is a significant step. And it's just one of the examples of food companies working to build more bridges to consumers and answer their concerns.
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USFRA has scheduled its next Food Dialogues to focus on those consumer issues, on August 11. The event will focus on a panel discussion, moderated by Bloomberg's Alan Bjerga, and will feature Minnesota soybean farmers and food executives, "for a conversation that will focus on bridging the information gap between food production practices, consumer concerns on health and the environment, and choices food executives must make when sourcing their products," according to the announcement.
"Farmers, ranchers and food executives have the ability to be even more connected to consumers than ever before," said Gene Stoel, Soybean Grower and MN Soybean Research and Promotion Council Board Member. "Yet, more must and can be done. This Food Dialogue panel discussion will tackle tough questions related to food production – from GMO safety to animal welfare. Agriculturalists are seeking opportunities to speak directly with food companies, key decision makers and ultimately the consumer. Every time food production practices are discussed, we would like to be in the conversation."
The event is consponsored by the Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council; the Nebraska Soybean Board; and USFRA. Penton Agriculture will be covering the event live on twitter at twitter.com/farmfutures as well as online at farmprogress.com.