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Consumer Beef Index Shows Positive Upswings In Beef Attitudes

Posted by arthur1234 on August 31, 2009

A July 2009 study called the Consumer Beef Index was conducted on behalf of the beef checkoff as a tool used to provide a measure of change in consumer demand for beef. The study surveys more than 1,000 consumers ages 13-65 to track changes in consumer attitudes, and help checkoff planners better understand the market and how to optimize national communication strategies.

“In early 2007, we actually ran a survey and it contained about 80 different variables which we could look at and say, ‘This measurement has an impact on predicting an increase in demand.’ So out of that list of variables, we narrowed it down to a smaller list of about 35 demand drivers and have been adjusting that list over time,” says John Lundeen, executive director of market research for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff Program. “An example is the impact of sustainability on the consumer’s decision – that was just added to the index recently. But there are two overall functions embodied in the tool: one is to kind of shine a spotlight on what’s important to the consumer and the second one is to say are we being effective with our communications.”

The July 2009 Index showed positive upswings in attitudes on various measures of how consumers think about beef. This study invariably shows the heavy beef consumer is also a heavy chicken consumer – they’re protein fans, plain and simple. Over the years, chicken continues to score high in the nutrition category but beef is gaining ground. Beef also continues to maintain its lead on taste and crave-ability where it tops chicken.

The numbers tell a story…one that helps the beef checkoff tailor programs in order to ultimately help drive demand. “All checkoff programs have to respond long-term with what’s gaining in importance, all the while, being able to respond short-term,” continues Lundeen. “People’s desires from food are actually pretty constant.
Twenty years ago there were about five factors of importance: taste, convenience, nutrition, variety and price. Now the one that’s possibly coming onto the radar is a broader definition of food around social causes – the environment, sustainability and animal welfare.
Consumer expectations have changed and what we’re seeing is that consumer wants food that delivers on all those attributes. So the weighting of the factors changes, and when something stands out as being more important, we have to react to it.”

The Index numbers show consumer have reacted to the changes in checkoff communications and are now starting to get the message about the nutrient-richness of beef and its positive nutritional aspects. In general, consumers are starting to ascribe a general positive nutritional halo to beef. They’re aware of the lean cuts that are available and safety nudged upwards. The numbers tell a very positive story for producers … 30 percent of “beef loyalists” put beef on par with chicken as far as nutritional value. That is a victory for beef.

For more information about the beef checkoff’s story, visit http://www.MyBeefCheckoff.com.

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Study: Beef Checkoff Returns $5.55 to Producers

Posted by arthur1234 on August 11, 2009

The Beef Checkoff Program returned about $5.55 in value to beef producers for every dollar they invested into it between 2003 and 2008. That’s the overall conclusion of a new economic study completed by Dr. Ron Ward, professor emeritus for the Food and Resource Economics Department of the University of Florida.

“Is the beef checkoff a demand driver? This was the most fundamental question of the entire study, and the answer is an overwhelming ‘yes,’ the generic promotion of beef has shifted beef demand,” Ward noted in his research conclusions. “The marginal rate-of-return is large enough to provide overwhelming evidence that the programs are achieving positive impacts (on) the U.S. demand for beef,” he said.

“The Beef Checkoff Programs and Their Impact on U.S. Beef Demand” evaluates the effectiveness of checkoff-funded programs in reaching their overarching goal of growing beef demand. To complete this, Ward employs statistical models that measure the effects of major beef demand drivers overall, then specifically, of the Beef Checkoff Program itself as a demand driver. It is a comprehensive study that is peer-reviewed by respected economists versed in commodity promotions and the beef industry, and is a follow-up to similar beef checkoff evaluations conducted regularly since 1989.

Ward presented the study results to the checkoff’s Joint Industry Evaluation Advisory Committee today at the 2009 Cattle Industry Summer Conference in Denver.

“We evaluate individual checkoff programs every year to make sure that we continue only with those programs that provide the biggest bang for our checkoff buck,” said Joint Evaluation Advisory Committee Chairman Dave Bateman, a producer from Illinois and immediate past chairman of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board. “But we have to dig a little deeper every few years to make sure that our overall checkoff strategy – combining all of our programs in promotion, research and information – are working together for the benefit of everyone who pays into the checkoff.”

Ward said that determining the effectiveness of recent beef checkoff programs objectively required identifying all factors that impact the demand for beef – things like household demographics, market penetration, amount of beef consumed per household and beef promotions, to name a few.

“This study is a pretty high-level economic review, with some complex econometric modeling throughout, so we don’t pretend to have the expertise as cattlemen on the Evaluation Committee to make sure it’s sound science on our own,” Bateman said. “That’s why it goes through a peer review, and Ward’s final version got the thumbs up for research accountability from those in the know – specifically Dr. Oral Capps and Dr. Chuck Lambert.”

The report on Ward’s research addresses beef consumption patterns, estimation of the impact of the checkoff on market penetration or the probability of consuming beef within a defined period, and the impact on the level of consumption among beef consumers. The end product is the determination of the rate-of-return from beef producers’ and importers’ national checkoff investments.

Along those lines, report findings include:
• The percentage of U.S. households that purchased beef in a given two-week shopping period – at 78.8 percent – would have been about three percentage points lower between 2003 and 2008, if not for the beef checkoff programs in place then, the study concluded.

• During the period, it became increasingly difficult to attract households to the beef market, so more of the checkoff gains arose from increased servings rather than the percentage of them buying beef. Accordingly, the two-week shopping analysis found an average of 3.42 servings of beef consumed per household member and concluded that each of those households would have purchased about 0.11 fewer servings per two-week period if not for the beef checkoff programs.

• Expressing shifts in demand back to the live-weight level, Ward estimates the marginal rates-of-return to the checkoff program between 2003 and 2008 to be 5.55 for the average checkoff expenditure level.

“These marginal gains are substantially above one,” Ward noted, “thus pointing to a program that is quantitatively effective in influencing the U.S. demand for beef.”

Bateman said the positive return-on-investment is great news for cattlemen and importers who pay for the checkoff programs, though he fears some might be hesitant to believe the results, given current market conditions.

“For those producers paying into the checkoff, it’s important to put these findings into the context of their operations – especially at a time when so many are losing money,” he said. “It might be difficult for producers to quantify a gain from the checkoff when they’re not seeing any gains in their own operations.

“The answer to that goes back to the very basic tenet of the checkoff,” Bateman continued. “The checkoff can’t singlehandedly turn around a bad market, but we have to stop and imagine if our checkoff dollars are returning $5.55 for every dollar we invest, just where we might be without the checkoff programs we have in place. That could quickly get pretty devastating, I would think. This study is telling us that because of our checkoff programs – even when times are bad for our industry – we are significantly better off than we would be without those programs.”

NOTE: The full “Ward Report” is available for review at http://www.beefboard.org/evaluation/files/Ward%20Study%202009.pdf. Dr. Ward will give a brief overview to Summer Conference participants again at General Session II of the conference, which is on tap for Friday, July 17, in Korbel Ballrooms 2-3 at the Colorado Convention Center. He will also be available for interviews in the Cattle Industry Media Room at the Convention Center from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 16.

The Beef Checkoff Program was established as part of the 1985 Farm Bill. The checkoff assesses $1 per head on the sale of live domestic and imported cattle, in addition to a comparable assessment on imported beef and beef products. States retain up to 50 cents on the dollar and forward the other 50 cents per head to the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board, which administers the national checkoff program, subject to USDA approval.

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New Beef Value Cuts Come to Oklahoma

Posted by arthur1234 on June 24, 2009

The Oklahoma Beef Council kicked-off a sales promotion with the Ben E. Keith foodservice company in June focusing on the checkoff-developed, beef value cuts including the Flatiron, Ranch, Delmonico and Denver steaks.

The Denver and Delmonico steaks are a part of the second generation of beef value cuts to be developed from the chuck, specifically the chuck roll. The flatiron and ranch steaks from the chuck shoulder clod have been available in Oklahoma the past several years, but this is the first time a foodservice company has distributed the Denver and Delmonico steaks.

The Oklahoma Beef Council is extremely excited Ben E. Keith has chosen to be the first company to sell the Denver and the Delmonico steaks in Oklahoma. It is also important to point out that the Robert M. Kerr Food and Agriculture Product Center at Oklahoma State University has played a key role in the development of this latest group of beef value cuts.

What does this all mean to the beef producer? Through the work of the beef checkoff-funded muscle-profiling project, researchers identified more steak options from the chuck creating more value for beef producers.

Cattle-Fax estimates that the first group of value cuts, led by the Flat Iron and the Petite Tender, added $50 to $60 a head to the value of the chuck, so we know from experience how popular products can affect our bottom line. The beef checkoff has the same hope for the new Denver and Delmonico steaks.
–Heather Buckmaster, Oklahoma Beef Council

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Beef Council Takes Message to OK Memorial Marathon

Posted by arthur1234 on May 7, 2009

Kingfisher Relay Team With Medals

Kingfisher Relay Team With Medals

In April, the Oklahoma Beef Council (OBC) exhibited at the Oklahoma Memorial Marathon Expo. With its efforts to educate consumers who are advocates for a healthy lifestyle about the benefits of lean beef, the Expo was an excellent opportunity for lean beef promotion and education. With more than 18,000 people attending the Expo, the OBC distributed lean beef recipes and information about the power of protein in Lean Beef as part of healthy lifestyle.

In addition, the OBC took the message of lean beef to the streets, literally, through its Beef Team. More than 40 runners from across the state competed in the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon and ½ Marathon as part of the Oklahoma Beef Council Beef Running Team.

Wearing shirts proclaiming, Beef It’s What’s for Dinner on the front and Fueled by Beef on the back, the message was driven home as each participant crossed the finish line. If you would like more information about your beef checkoff dollar, visit mybeefcheckoff.com.

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Economy may help bargain restaurants but not state beef industry: Scott Dewald

Posted by arthur1234 on January 29, 2009

Brian Brus interviews Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association Executive Vice President, Scott Dewald recently about the trends showing fewer trips to medium and upscale restaurants. Consumers appear to be cutting back either by cooking at home more or eating at less expensive–read McDonald’s–restaurant chains.

Click here for the full story from the Journal Record!

Posted in Beef Council | 1 Comment »

Mother-Daughter Team Wins 2009 Oklahoma Beef Cook-Off

Posted by arthur1234 on January 21, 2009

Jennifer Cubbage, OCW; Ed Murray, News 9; Mandy Ozment, Doug Warner, News 9, and Jane Ozment

L to R: Jennifer Cubbage, OCW; Ed Murray, News 9; Mandy Ozment, Doug Warner, News 9, and Jane Ozment

Eight amateur chefs competed in the Oklahoma Beef Cook-off in three inspired categories: “Kid Pleasers”, “Small Plates, Big Taste” and a “World of Beef” at the Oklahoma City Home and Garden Show on January 17, 2009. The “Best of Beef” honors and $1500 cash went to Jane and Mandy Ozment (age 10) of Purcell with their An Apple a Day Burger entered in the “Kid Pleasers” category. The Ozments’ recipe included an intriguing mix of lean ground beef, with a bit of applesauce topped with grilled sweet onions and Gala apples, pepper-jack cheese, and an applesauce-mayonnaise on whole grain buns.

Second place and $250 winner in the “Kid Pleasers” went to Linda and Jacob Rickman (age 10) of Duncan with their recipe, Jacob’s Fireballs. It was a spicy mix of beef and Italian seasonings.

In the “Small Plates, Big Tastes” category winning $500 and first prize was Leah Lyon of Ada with Greek Steak Salad Gondolas. Lyon’s dish utilized Top Loin Steaks, Greek seasonings, cucumbers, Romaine lettuce hearts, and feta cheese.

Dave Cathey, aka “The Food Dude” at the Daily Oklahoman, did a wonderful feature story on this year’s Oklahoma Beef Cookoff. I highly recommend it as well as some of the other recipes in today’s edition.

All the winning recipes are also located on the Oklahoma Beef Council website!

Jack Carson

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Adam McClung Joins Oklahoma Beef Council

Posted by arthur1234 on December 17, 2008

mcclung1web
In December, Adam McClung joined the Oklahoma Beef Council as the Director of Industry Relations. His primary responsibilities include coordinating Beef Quality Assurance activities, producer communications and compliance education.

Adam is from Arkansas where he grew up on a cow-calf operation. He has a B.S. degree in Animal Science with a business option from Oklahoma State University. While at OSU, he was part of the 2001 National Livestock Judging Championship Team. Before coming to the Oklahoma Beef Council, he served as the Membership Director for Arkansas Cattlemen’s Association for four years. During his service to the Arkansas Cattlemen’s Association, the organization exceeded its state and national membership goals three out of the four years.

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