Beef Briefs: October 2010
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Look for Beef Briefs to be delivered the first of each month – your snapshot of beef checkoff news affecting the dairy and beef industries. Editor’s note: please feel free to use these news items as space allows in your publication or online content. If you would like to expand on a certain topic, please e-mail Melissa Slagle at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In case you missed it…
… Twenty-six students will compete for a position on the 2011 National Beef Ambassador Team.
… July values for U.S. beef exports exceeded year-ago levels.
… Meat processors, manufacturers and retailers gathered at the 2010 Innovative Beef Symposium.
Convenient Meal Options with New Beef Products
The beef industry has worked hard in recent years to get more products in the store that meet customers’ needs for a grab-and-go meal. According to a research study funded by the beef checkoff and conducted by Mintel International Group, the number of new products that include beef are increasing.
Beef products launched as the center of the plate protein increased 31 percent from 2004 to 2008. Launches in 2009 slowed to below the 2008 launch rate, attributed to the impact of the financial downturn. Beef had more product launches than chicken, pork and turkey from 2004 to the first five months of 2009. In 2008, there were 130 beef product launches, 96 chicken, 92 pork and 36 turkey.
Top flavors of products launched are beef flavor, beef and teriyaki, beef and vegetable and teriyaki. Others include beef and cayenne pepper, beef and chicken and pork, marinara and pepperoni, mushroom and wine, and beef and pepper and smoke.
The Beef Innovations Group (BIG), funded by the beef checkoff, is always working to develop concepts for products that meet the consumer's demand for convenience. View all products.
U.S. Beef in Japanese 7-Elevens
Nearly 13,000 Japanese 7-Eleven convenience stores are participating in a new U.S. beef promotion that prominently features the “We Care” logo identifying the product as American beef. This is the first time a Japanese convenience store chain has agreed to promote U.S. beef by displaying the We Care logo. U.S. participation in the promotion – through the U.S. Meat Export Federation, a contractor of the beef checkoff – is being funded through the Beef Checkoff Program and USDA Market Access Program (MAP) funds. The chain expects to sell 30 million of the featured beef Bento boxes per year. For more, visit U.S. Beef in Japan.
Adding Beef to the Thanksgiving Menu
While Thanksgiving is traditionally considered "Turkey Day," many consumers may want to incorporate beef into their celebrations to help enhance the flavors on their tables. Here are some suggestions for this important American holiday from the beef checkoff:
- Although beef roasts are not often associated with being the center of attention on Thanksgiving Day, they can nonetheless be a welcome change from turkey. Consumers can serve a small roast, such as a Tenderloin Roast, alongside a smaller turkey.
- If beef isn't in the main course budget, suggest starting off their meal with a delicious beef appetizer. Crisp and tasty, a beefy salad such as a Simple Asian Beef Salad or a classic Grilled Skirt Steak Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing make an excellent start to any meal. Keep kids happy with fun finger foods such as Crazy Quesadillas or Sweet Hawaiian Mini Burgers.
- Skillet steaks are quick and easy, and sure to be a crowd pleaser. Check out the Skillet Steak section of the Beef Recipes and Photography section for recipe suggestions.
- A vat of spicy chili or a big pot of steaming stew provides protein to keep the football games going all day long. Be sure to view the Hearty Lean Beef Stews and Chilis brochure.
There are plenty of ways to include beef on and around Thanksgiving. For more great ideas, visit the checkoff-funded Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner website.
Are you a Beef Backer? Call for Entries.
Entries for the beef checkoff-funded Fourth Annual Retail Beef Backer Awards are being accepted until Oct. 29, 2010. Supermarket retailers of all sizes and formats are encouraged to enter the contest, and anyone can nominate a participating retailer to win an award.
Retail Beef Backer winners are selected based on their excellent marketing and merchandising of beef at the meat case. Retailers are encouraged to participate by sharing their beef stories, describing how beef sales and demand have grown as a result of their efforts in one or more of the following three areas: promotions, programs and activities.
Awards will be given in these categories: Independent Retailer -- fewer than 11 retail stores; Mid-Size Chain Retailer -- 11-99 retail stores; Large Chain Retailer -- 100 or more retail stores; and, Innovator of the Year.
U.S. Exports to Mexico Improving
Although Mexico is still the No. 1 destination for U.S. beef exports, it is the only major market trailing last year's results, according to the U.S Meat Export Federation (USMEF), a contractor of the beef checkoff. And while a sluggish economy and weak peso have made Mexico a tough market in 2010, weekly beef sales data from August suggest signs of improvement.
Mexico's economy has been slow to rebound from the global financial crisis that initially took hold in late 2008, said Chad Russell, a regional USMEF director based in Mexico City. But early indications of a strengthening economy and improvement in consumer confidence are emerging. Despite trade issues between the U.S. and Mexico, Russell said, the business environment in Mexico remains quite good for U.S. beef in terms of market access.
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.