“Lean beef trimmings” or “pink slime” — which would you prefer?

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pink slime

Is this stuff "lean beef trimmings" or "pink slime"?

This BBC story touches on some intriguing elements of branding and labeling.   When does the healthy and economical-sounding “lean beef trimmings” become the downright yucky and distasteful “pink slime” — so powerfully negative that schools are banning the food from cafeterias and at least one meat processing plant that employed 850 people has been forced to close.

The issue, of course, is the fact that not everything in meat processing plants is all-that-appetizing when you know what it is.  ”Lean beef trimmings” are the leftovers and byproducts that critics say would have gone into pet food before and are now rendered palatable only because they are “bleached” to look better.  Meat processing industry folks say the food is quite safe to eat and helps reduce the cost of beef, so, to use the jargon “where’s the beef” in the complaints?

The substance is the same however you label it . . . so this is a branding mess.  I can’t really find fault in either perspective but it raises some interesting thoughts about how consumers and other businesses perceive our businesses, products and services and how we can turn lemon into lemonade, or maybe lemonade into lemons.

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