Understanding small- and very-small-scale size meat processors in Missouri to strengthen the local supply chain
Keywords:Small-scale meat Processors, Challenges, Local Meat, COVID-19, Pandemic, Meat Processing Industry
Promoting local food systems is crucial to providing a more viable economy, eco-friendly production, and equal opportunities for producers, consumers, and communities. Meat processors are critical to local meat producers and the meat supply chain. However, various barriers have restricted small-scale meat processors and challenged the local meat supply chain. Although local food systems have gained enormous scholarly attention, little attention has been devoted to specifically exploring the meat processing sector. This study investigated the characteristics and challenges of small-scale (<750 employees) and very-small–scale (<200 employees) meat processors in Missouri. Twenty-six meat processors participated in an online survey through Qualtrics, a mail survey, or a structured phone interview between May 2021 and March 2022. We identified the characteristics and constraints related to their businesses. The analysis revealed that 76% of meat processors perceived that their business was in better or much better condition than before the COVID-19 pandemic, reflecting their adaptability to the disrupted meat supply chain. However, small-scale meat processing facilities were limited by the labor shortage, complicated regulations and high regulatory compliance costs, a lack of consistent supply, and limited access to tools and equipment. More integrated work is needed to aid smaller processors in positively impacting the local community and environment through locally sourced meat production. This study contains helpful implications for state-level policymaking, extension programs, and future research directions.
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Copyright (c) 2023 Muh Syukron, Ye Su
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