A&W Beyond Meat commercial raising concerns for Sask. ranchers
An A&W commercial that was shot outside of a Saskatchewan Roughriders game at Mosaic Stadium last month has some local cattle producers concerned over the message the ad might send, and if the Riders are showing a lack of support to ranchers.
The ad promotes the Beyond Meat burger, a plant based product sold at the fast food chain.
Local cattle producer and blogger Adrienne Ivey took to her blog to share her anger after seeing the commercial, and her post spread quickly.
She emphasized that her issue was not with the vegetarian option.
“This is very much not an issue about beef protein versus plant based protein,” Ivey said. “Pulse burgers can be amazing, but let’s just make sure that maybe they’re made by and from farmers here in Canada.”
The Saskatchewan Stock Growers’ Association (SSGA) echoed a similar message, and said they’re looking to avoid any misrepresentation about the beef industry that could come from the commercial.
“If we don’t stand up for ourselves, who is going to?” said Chad MacPherson, general manager of SSGA.
He said the beef industry and pulse industry coexist well together, as long as there are no negative messages spread by either side.
“We actually find the pulse and livestock industries to be quite complimentary for the most part,” he said. “We’re not afraid of the competition, it’s just how the products are being marketed.”
Along with the commercial itself, some took issue with the fact that it was filmed outside of Roughriders game, feeling that the team was showing a lack of support for the agriculture sector.
“Producers had concerns or were disappointed if the Riders had any involvement in the production of the video,” MacPherson said.
The Roughriders reached out to both the SSGA and Ivey to apologize.
In a letter from the team to the SSGA, the organization says because A&W is a corporate sponsor of the team, it has permission to use its marks.
“The advertisement does not represent any reduction of support by the Saskatchewan Roughriders Football Club to specific beef or agriculture industries,” the letter from Riders chief brand officer Anthony Partipilo said.
Both the SSGA and Ivey said they were impressed with the Riders’ reaction and apology, and will all work together moving forward on potential projects.
In a statement to CTV News, A&W Canada said they are reaching out to the Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association to discuss concerns.
“It is important that they know we are advocates of Saskatchewan beef and our beef burgers firmly remain the most popular choice on our menu in the province,” the statement said.
It said the commercial celebrated Rider Nation, and they will soon switch to a new campaign that features a 100% Prairie-Raised Bison burger.
“A&W buys millions of pounds of Canadian beef every year and Saskatchewan is one of our largest sources of high-quality Canadian beef, a supply we constantly look to increase,” A&W said. “We are proud of our ties to the Saskatchewan ranchers and farmers who also supply us with chicken, wheat, mustard and canola.”