Date of Award:

12-2018

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Environment and Society

Advisor/Chair:

Roslynn Brian McCann

Co-Advisor/Chair:

Mark Brunson

Third Advisor:

Jennifer MacAdam

Abstract

Demand for new methods of beef production is rising due to concern over potential impacts on human health, animal welfare, and the environment. Researchers at Utah State University have developed a method of beef production from cattle finished on tannin-containing legume forages in the Rocky Mountain Region in order to address those concerns. To ensure success of this product, the demand and marketability needed to be assessed. Food values addressed through new production standards and certifications are communicated through labeling by culinary professionals in the kitchen and behind service counters. This research study utilized qualitative methods to understand how culinary leaders construct meaning regarding non-conventional beef. A discursive analysis of labels, menus, and websites revealed that storytelling and branding are more important than third-party certifications. Thematic analysis of interviews with culinary professionals discovered participants are open to new products but environmental concern was tempered by concern for pleasing customers and hindered by planning a menu around consistency and quality. This research found that the success of beef from cattle finished on tannin-containing legume forages is dependent on the benefits being communicated in a way that emphasizes authenticity, tradition, and standards of quality necessary for culinary professionals.

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