Dear Sask Roughriders, don’t you want me as a fan anymore??

It rained a lot last week. And when it rains here on the ranch, it means we typically have a little more time for TV watching. This also also happened to be the week that A&W Canada launched their latest commercial – one that is breaking all the parts of my heart – the beef producer section as well as the sports fan section.

Like everyone growing up in Saskatchewan, we bleed green around here. The Saskatchewan Roughriders are our team, through and through. In good years and in bad years, we have loyally cheered them on, and loved every second of it. In fact, one of our very first dates as a young couple was at a Rider game.

But this week, the sight of the Rider symbol is making me clench my teeth in frustration. Something I never thought could happen.

Weeks ago I knew that A&W was at a game filming. This was sad enough to me, knowing that as a company, they have chosen to promote fear over science in their food. As a Canadian beef producer, I have spoke frequently about their decision to source the majority of their beef from far away countries, rather than from here in Canada, where some of the best beef in the world is raised. But I was not prepared for that very A&W commercial to showcase something far worse than imported beef that they can stamp some scientifically dubious labels on – because let’s face it – all beef is good beef, even if I don’t love the intentions behind the label.

No, this commercial is far worse than I had braced myself for. It’s for the Beyond Meat burger, and for so many reasons, is a direct slam to the hard working, dedicated, honest, beef producers in Saskatchewan. The very people buying Roughrider tickets.

Now, let me set one thing straight, I am all for a good veggie burger. For those who cannot, or chose not, to eat meat, a veggie burger is an awesome option. We are blessed here in Saskatchewan to have almost unlimited food choices, and plant based protein is a great option. Our farms here also grow amazing pulse crops, which (in theory), could be made into plant based burger patties. Options are awesome. I think that plant based proteins are the special teams of our diet here (to keep with the football theme).

But the Beyond Meat burger is a different story. It is no surprise to me that A&W and Beyond Meat teamed up so quickly. They are both dedicated to marketing based on “fear the other” rather than promoting their own merits, and to top it off, Beyond Meat doesn’t even help out our pulse producers here in Saskatchewan. Their patties are made in a USA factory, using their own ingredients. As for our beef producers here – Beyond Meat has made it their mission to smear beef production. To slander the way cattle are raised. To paint the people (like myself and my family) as those who care little for the environment, and are willfully destroying it.

For the Saskatchewan Roughriders to play a part in this narrative is breaking my ranching heart.

I cannot begin to count the dollars that this ranch has spent on Roughrider tickets. The thousands spent over the years on merchandise. The fact that we are raising the next generation of Roughrider fans, who also happen to be young beef producers in their own right.

For the past week, as that commercial played, I had to turn the channel. I can’t watch. But yet I have never left a Rider game early.

So, with all of this, I have a couple questions for the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Do you value me as a fan? As a customer? Are you comfortable with telling people that what I do, in raising beef, is bad? What is next? A smear commercial on the oil and gas industry? Would you lend your logo to that?

I believe that Saskatchewan Beef Producers are noble people. They care about the animals, the land and the earth. They are focused every single day on raising the best food possible for their own families as well as the world. But now I wonder – do the Saskatchewan Roughriders feel the same? Today, I don’t believe they do.

44 thoughts on “Dear Sask Roughriders, don’t you want me as a fan anymore??

  1. I have had season tickets (4 seats)
    since 2002, I made cash donation to the telethon in the 1990’s ( last chance cash appeal to keep the team a float)
    I will keep my season tickets to the end of 2020, then I am done.

    Smearing the beef industry is the last straw.
    It never too late to apologize.
    Everyone makes mistakes.

    I challenge the elected board of the Saskatchewa Rough Riders to make corrections.

    Barry Olney
    Carievale, Saskatchewa

    P. S. It is 3 1/2 hour drive to Regina or 4 1/2 hours to Winnipeg.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I was appalled by the ad at first but after I watched it a few times it became apparently clear every one of those rider t-shirts or jerseys were fresh out of the package some even still having creases. I am suspect these are everyday people who were talked into wearing them for the ad. On another point the Saskatchewan roughriders are not to blame here. Correct me if I’m wrong but at no point in the ad is the team franchise endorsing the product.
    Just people who may or may not be rider fans. My opinion here is that this is a clever but oh so sleazy attempt by A&W to use the Rider Green as influencers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We were at the game and actually asked to be interviewed for the commercial. They are real Rider fans that were just asked to try the burger and to be asked questions about their experience. Al has a set script of questions to ask each individual and then responses are edited in a way that reflect only positives towards the product.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. If you work as a manager at a Chevrolet dealer; and you see an advertisement for a Ford truck over the Roughriders game; would you feel the same? This is just boohooing because there’s finally some innovation in the world. No burger is good for you, beef or beyond. Having some competition in the world won’t put you out of business tomorrow. Adapt to an ever changing world, and stop expecting it to never change for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi H. If you read through my post, I am a huge supporter of food choices. Competition is a wonderful thing, and Canadians are incredibly lucky to be able to have an abundance of food and protein choices. This is about false and misleading advertising. Plain and simple.

      Liked by 1 person

      • One major thing to realize is that as you stated in your article Beyond Meat is an American company; so they use American stats. The way Canadian beef (for the most part, but we are not completely free from intensive/factory farming) is farmed is the EXCEPTION and not the rule. 99% of animal agriculture (including 78% of beef) purchased within the US and nearly as large percentages bought in Canada do not come from Ranches, but intensive/factory farming facilities. Those are the stats that Beyond Meat is using and rightly so because factory farming is on the rise worldwide, and is doing sever damage to ecosystems like the Amazon rainforest fires that were started to clear more room for cattle farming. Animal agriculture, no matter how fluffy and great it might be here in Canada (which we still are not perfect by a long shot) isn’t sustainable and will continue to eat away at this world. Things like Beyond Meat are not what Ranchers should be focusing on right now; but the growing trend of more demand for meat at lower costs across the planet that will either drive traditional ranchers into destitution or force them to become just like the Factory Farms that these stats are true of.


      • I hope you watch my TEDx Talk, H.
        Many would consider my family farm a factory farm. We may have many cattle, but we still care for each one, and also are focused on the health of our soil, and our impact on the environment. Our grasslands sequester enormous amounts of carbon. Our farm is absolutely sustainable. In fact, we are seeing far more positives than negatives to having livestock be a part of our whole farm. This is the truth, and I live it on a daily basis.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I have watched you TED talk, and now knowing that you do (by your own admissions) take part in Factory/Intensive farming practices. I wish nothing but the worst business outcomes and failures to your ranch because you and your farm are exactly what is wrong with animal agriculture. These are living creatures that don’t deserve to live in horrid conditions, and die for your profits or people’s personal food choices. I hope that traditional grazing ranchers who allow their animals complete free roam and to live on the land do realize that the damage to the view on agriculture that is causing them to suffer is because of farmers like you that put profits and growth over the well being of animals, not because there’s a plant based burger at A&W.


    • I would like you to back up your bs stats that 99% of cattle are factory farmed! Please show me all the factory cow / calf operations! Most feedlots are also family owned not factory operations! I have been to most feedlots in western Canada and some in central Canada all are family owned except 1 or 2! Can’t even think of one factory cow/calf operations! Been to feedlots in the USA and many of them are family operations and family ranches rule the countryside there same as Canada! So sorry I don’t believe your bullshit statistics! You are being brainwashed by your masters if you believe it!


      • Calling something a “factory farm” does not mean it has to be owned by 3M or Monsanto. It is much more a reflection on how the operation is run than who is running it. I don’t buy the idea that 99% of beef is factory farmed either, but I believe you completely missed his point.


      • Hi R, if you look at my response I linked my source unlike anyone else in this thread. I even in my comment listed that it is 99% of animal agriculture (poultry, beef, pork, eggs, and more) with 78% of beef purchased within the United States.


    • H
      I will assume from your response that you are a vegan as you mention that there is no burger that is good for you. So Your position really then is that all animal agriculture should be stopped and not just factory farming?

      Are we assuming that plant based burgers is an innovation compared to real meat………have you seen how processed and sodium laced these burgers are………….I think while offering an alternative option for vegans, these burgers are deadly for good health not innovative.


    • It is not the burger itself that is so repugnant, many people choose not to, or cannot eat meat and it is great they have options. I personally would never choose one. It is the whole A&W new philosophy to vilify the beef industry, with scare tactics, their misleading no antibiotics, or hormone bullshit ad pisses me off much more than the beyond meat burger. It is a fast food chain getting into politics that leaves such a bad taste. For that reason, I will give up my favourite root beer and eat somewhere else.


    • This is from a CNBC interview with the founder of Whole Foods:

      “But Mackey, who has been a vegan for more than 20 years, isn’t sold on the health benefits of plant-based meats.

      “The [brands] who are capturing the imagination of people — and I’m not going to name these brands because I’m afraid I will be associated with the critique of it,” says Mackey, “but some of these that are extremely popular now that are taking the world by storm, if you look at the ingredients, they are super, highly processed foods.”

      “I don’t think eating highly processed foods is healthy. I think people thrive on eating whole foods,” Mackey says. “As for health, I will not endorse that, and that is about as big of criticism that I will do in public.”

      And Mackey isn’t alone. Some dietitians aren’t completely sold on the plant-based burger craze either.

      “They are not necessarily healthier than beef burgers,” Alissa Rumsey, a registered dietitian, told CNBC in July. “They’re totally fine to eat, but there’s no need to replace your beef burger if you don’t enjoy these,”


  4. The ad has nothing to do directly with the Riders. It is a paid ad on TSN, which the Riders do not control. The fact that they attended Mosaic to do the ad is also not controlled by the Riders. It is a public stadium.


  5. I also cannot agree with this advertisement!!
    As a matter of fact: There has been more reported cases of food poisoning-YES FOOD POISONING- since the introduction of this so called food- Beyond Meat-!!
    I’m all for sponsorship of the RIDERS or any other team BUT slamming SASK BEEF FARMERS is going a bit to far!! Yes it costs a lot of money to have a team here – but they could LOSE a lot of fan power if the riders or any other team for that matter, doesn’t cut that commercial, and maybe RE-DO IT!!


  6. I don’t see what this has to do with the Roughriders. I agree A&W as a company is not one that should be supported but people wearing rider jerseys and eating a burger on camera has nothing to do with the Saskatchewan Roughrider organization’s endorsement of the company or the burger.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Im sorry, but blaming the Roughriders organization for that commercial is like blaming the weatherman when it rains and you needed a warm day. They had nothing to do with it, didnt sponsor or endorse it. Why play the blame game?

    That said, no way am I ever eating some msde in a lab burger. Re as l canadian beef is the way to go.


  8. Explain to me what exactly this has to do with the Riders organization.

    Some ad company shot a commercial on a public sidewalk outside of civically owned building. They interviewed people wearing Rider gear, and each of those individuals would have had to have signed a release and may or may not have been compensated outside of a free burger.

    Where, please tell me, does this involve the team specifically?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I think it is a bit of a stretch to blame the football team for letting a&w come to the tailgate party and self promote their products. What are they supposed to do chase them away?? Quit making more of this than it is. I bet it took a lot of takes to find people that would do the commercial and say it was tasty

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Yes this really gets my mad soon as it comes on I switch the channel to anything so I don’t have to listen to listen to the the jerkBarry Young


  11. I was in Regina for a school reunion. My friend & I stopped in at A& W for a quick bite. I just wanted to try the plant based burger, but the employee kept on adding onion rings, a drink without my consent and not in a combo which tells me A&W is only interested in profit. I was totally disappointed with the plant based burger — it was mushy and not full of good flavor. Give me a real burger anyday!!! And support your local cattle farmer!!!


  12. Well.. My family has not eaten at A&W for many years, (out of choice,) I do for a treat. I tried the “burger” in question.. It has no real discernible flavour.. The only things that were decent about it was the tomato and the lettuce because they overpowered the “burger”.

    As for the commercial, They shot it on the public assess in front of the stadium. They chose the location because it was the one place where they could get enough film footage of people trying the burger. They couldn’t do it downtown, because the food truck owners would fun them off… And the people would say anything just to be on camera, even lie that a “burger” was tasty.


  13. The reality is, as much as I hate that commercial, they have done the taste testing at a Riders game and therefore to the non-sports fan, makes it look like all Riders and SK fans like the Beyond Meat burger. I’ve tried it and didn’t find it offensive in taste however it still doesn’t replace a meat burger in my opinion. If you are a person that eats these Beyond Meat burgers because you like the taste, I guess that’s your choice but given the amount of processing and sodium in them, they are not healthy for your body. Fake meat burgers are never going to 100% replace true meat burgers. Our population in China and the USA alone when you subtract out the vegans and vegetarians as a percentage shows that those two countries grow by 56,000 true meat eaters every day in population growth. The true enemy of the Saskatchewan Cattle Producer is not the few that eat plant based burgers at an A&W…………it’s the rest of the world that is trying to learn how to feed themselves and can do it at a similar or lower price than Canada. While it’s not wrong that people shouldn’t have access to raising their own food but it diminishes the global export opportunity for Canada.


  14. The beyond meat is total crap
    When it first came out I tasted it and it tasted worse than what I have had splashed on my face while working with farm animals
    The only meat I eat is real beef and pork
    None of this fake crap


  15. Great article! Well said. You have thoughtfully pointed out some great points.
    I believe it was Earl’s Restaurant chain and their parent company, which decided to attack Canadian beef and instead source their beef from an American firm, which was Halal. The backlash was swift and effective.
    In this case and with Tim Horton’s, they have decided to push the Beyond Meat narrative, which is loaded with falsehoods. I prefer fact based discussions and positively promoting your products. Fear mongering and demonizing because we aren’t woke enough, is condescending and childish. To those woke apologists, I’ll let you eat what you like…please let me do the same.

    As for Marina Holtzman, I appreciate what you are trying to say, although I do believe the Rider’s do have copyright protection and you would need their permission you use the logo.

    H……you are another matter….wow…..a lot of vegan angst there….You do come across as very woke, so good for you. Preachy and condescending all at the same time….I can only hope to reach your level of certitude. Yikes. Back to your basement! The real world is for living!

    Thanks again for a great article, very informative and thought provoking.




  16. Can you cite some sources about Beyond Burger smearing/slandering the beef industry please? I’ve read a decent amount about them, but haven’t seen anything like you are describing.


  17. How about getting all the facts before you smear the Sk Roughriders. Do you have it in writing that the Riders were involved or did A and W just get permission to film the ads there. You can hate A and W all you want but you should be sure about the Riders involvement before you go smearing them all over from. And why is your name not anywhere? Just a pseudonym?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s