Beefless Monday Project Report

Summary:

For my project, I began a “Beefless Monday” campaign at Ohio Wesleyan University. I decided on this project after doing more research on the environmental impacts of beef consumption. After finding out about all of the negative things affects of beef (greenhouse gas emissions, land usage, water usage, deforestation, CFCs, etc.), I felt that a project like this one would help to hold Ohio Wesleyan accountable as well as encourage us to reduce our ecological footprint. Beefless Monday is a day in which the dining services replace the beef options with a more environmentally friendly alternative, in this case it was the Beyond Meat Burger. I chose the Beyond Meat Burger because it is gluten free, vegan, kosher, and has no GMOs. Instead of just taking away beef, I wanted to be able to offer an alternative that would get students excited as well as something that tasted good that would potentially even get meat eaters to try and ultimately enjoy.

Methods and Results:

The first step in bringing the Beyond Meat Burger to Ohio Wesleyan was gathering all of the necessary research that would hopefully make the campaign more attractive to AVI. I wanted to be able to present them with the facts as to why beef is negatively impacting the environment followed by offering an alternative that would seem doable and exciting. Next, I had to reach out to Jim Pearce of AVI and set up a meeting to discuss the possibility of starting the Beefless Monday campaign here at OWU. We then met in the offices in Bishop Cafe, along with a marketing employee to discuss the who/what/where/why/and how of the campaign. The meeting went very well and Jim Pearce agreed to kickstart the campaign! We landed on sampling the burgers the Friday before Thanksgiving break (the sold out!) and officially launching the campaign the Monday that we returned from break (they sold out again!). They ran out of the patties (32) in less than an hour and a half. I contacted Jim Pearce after the debut to discuss possibly ordering more for the next week. He agreed and said they plan to do so. He also posed the question “Will Beyond Meat get boring?” and also asked about possibly transitioning from Beefless Monday to Meatless Monday. At first, I was a bit upset by this because I felt like it was not really giving my project a fair chance. After thinking more about it, I realized that I should feel proud and view it as a good thing that the end goal is to go meatless all together. In response to Jim’s email, we offered up some questions of our own as well as some possible solutions. Some of the things we brought up in the email were: were they shaping them themselves or did they buy them in patty form already?, possibly trying other kinds of meatless foods to keep it fresh (chili, tacos, etc.), offering it once a month so it remains a novelty, talk to AVI about cutting a deal with the Beyond Meat Company, and using a cheaper company such as Morning Star.

Recommendations:

As mentioned above, we thought up some solutions after discussing the issue with the class during my presentation:

  • Finding out HOW they were making the patties: An issue that was brought up was that the patties were absolutely massive. The burgers definitely do not need to be so big. Having smaller patties could bring the cost down. We want to find out if they’re buying the meat and shaping it themselves or if they are buying the patties pre-formed. If they are buying the patties and forming them, they could make them smaller or use the meat in other ways to make the meat last longer and have more uses
  • Trying other kind of meat alternatives: AVI could buy “beed crumbles” that resemble ground beef and make other foods with a meat substitute. They could make tacos, chili, etc. This would keep things fresh while still allowing for a beefless Monday.
  • Offering the burgers once a month: By offering the burgers once a month, it would cut costs while still allowing the campaign to take place and making it a novelty and something that people can look forward to as opposed to something that is expected.
  • AVI cutting a deal with Beyond Meat: This could help to lower the costs of the burgers and possibly allow them to make more room in their budget for meatless alternatives.
  • Using a cheaper brand: There are other brands of meat substitutes such as Morning Star and Bocca. These brands might be cheaper and more accessible for OWU. Using one of these brands may make it possible for this campaign to have the longevity that I was hoping for.

Contacts:

  • John Krygier – Professor of Geography at Ohio Wesleyan University (email: jbkrygier@owu.edu)
  • Jim Pearce- Resident Director of AVI food systems at OWU, (email:jpearce@avifoodsystems.com)
  • Peyton Hardesty- My partner for the project (prhardes@owu.edu)

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