“The right-to-know is another high point in product development,” said McAdams. “Consumers in other countries demand to know where food comes from. The Whole Foods customer wants to know. That trend will grow.”

Tracy Chapman, an analyst who measures consumer attitudes toward various products, said the goal of beef industry should be to “make shoppers feel smart at the meat case.

“Shoppers want to feel in control and resent the ‘dinner table hijack,’” or feeling of being pressured to serve beef that was raised without growth stimulants, she said. “We should change from saying ‘feed additive’ to ‘feed supplement.’ Consumers see supplements as beneficial.”

Her research among women consumer groups shows that they are happy to know that conventional beef is just as nutritious as organic or natural beef. Chapman said the industry should consider some new terminology when describing beef.

“We should use the term ‘traditional beef’ instead of conventional,” she said, as well as “freedom of choice” when referring to organic, and “lean, healthy variety” when discussing cheaper lean beef cuts.

She stressed to TSCRA members and others that consumers trust farmers “as people who put food on their tables,” adding that the term “cattle farmers” is more appealing to consumers than the term “producers.”