Around the world, beef consumers demand high-quality, safe and nutritious products. As protein choices continue to expand, beef safety and nutrition research are key to ensuring that both domestic and foreign beef consumers have confidence in their purchasing decisions. The only way to maintain and grow this confidence is through strong and effective science-based communication. Beef Checkoff-funded research programs have been used to respond to industry, media and regulatory inquiries, as well as influencer and consumer concerns, by showcasing the beef industry’s commitment to science-based information and consumer education.
Beef Research Shows Nutritional Benefits
Prepared beef products like hot dogs, roast beef and pastrami, among others, are nutritious and help to fulfill a person’s daily macronutrient needs. Research to demonstrate the role these products play in healthy dietary patterns is critical to giving Americans permission to consume the products they enjoy. The Foundation for Meat and Poultry Research and Education’s (FMPRE) Research Advisory Committee identified key processed beef nutrition research priorities, as well as a supplemental request focused on nutrition sciences. Proposals were evaluated and three projects were funded collaboratively, two with the Foundation and one with NCBA.
Initiating processed beef nutrition research demonstrates the commitment of the beef industry to support beef consumption in all forms and underscores the nutrition profiles of all beef products. The more products shown with nutritional benefits adds more value per animal harvested.
The Beef Checkoff Hosts Beef Sustainability Ag Media Workshop
The Federation of Beef Councils, the Cattlemen’s Beef Board and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s checkoff-funded sustainability research program jointly sponsored an Ag Media Workshop on October 22-23, 2018. Representatives from 14 of the country’s largest livestock/ag publications, with a combined circulation of more than 700,000, gathered in Denver to hear findings from university scientists conducting checkoff-funded sustainability research, as well as the latest research on retail sales of emerging alternative proteins and consumer perceptions of beef sustainability. While in town, the workshop presenters were interviewed for a one-hour sustainability episode on NCBA’s Cattlemen to Cattlemen on RFD-TV. For more information on beef sustainability, visit www.beefresearch.org.
Educating the media about the beef industry’s efforts to improve sustainability throughout the supply chain is critical in order to improve producer awareness, as well as consumer confidence in beef. This specific event contributed to 18 articles or radio episodes covering topics addressed during the training. Additionally, 100 percent of the media respondents said they planned to write stories about the topics covered in the workshop and would be interested in attending future checkoff-sponsored workshops.
Beef Checkoff Research Works to Improve Safety
The Food Safety and Inspection Service’s (FSIS) Appendices A and B provide safe harbor guidelines for ready-to-eat prepared meat and poultry processors on cooking and cooling requirements respectively. Revisions to the Appendices in 2017 highlighted critical data needs to help ensure the production of ready-to-eat beef products, among others, meet these guidelines. The Beef Checkoff was joined by the Beef Industry Food Safety Council, FMPRE and U.S. Poultry in the funding of two projects addressing these data needs. Research results from these projects have been critical to not only filling but also identifying data gaps and additional research needs.
The results from these projects ran in parallel to the Appendices A and B Scientific Working Group, who, along with the Industry Advisory Group and association partners, were able to share the research findings with the Food Safety and Inspection Service to provide additional information to the scientific body of evidence to address knowledge gaps and inform the agency’s future revisions to the appendices. The investments in these post-harvest beef safety research projects demonstrated the beef industry’s commitment to produce safe and healthy products to promote and strengthen consumer confidence and beef’s value proposition.
The Checkoff’s Consumer Beef Tracker
The Beef Checkoff’s Consumer Beef Tracker provides the industry with key insights about how consumers perceive beef products. Most recently, data gathered through June 2019 continues to show that beef is a highly desirable protein, driven mostly by its great taste and nutritional benefits. It also continues to indicate that consumers have a high degree of trust in the safety of the beef they eat.
By investigating consumer insights, the Beef Checkoff is able to identify areas of opportunity that should be touted to keep beef top of mind for consumers. Therefore, knowing what is driving consumer purchasing decisions enables the checkoff to find new market prospects for beef products. More information can be found on www.beefresearch.org.
American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture
Cattlemen's Beef Board
Foundation for Meat and Poultry Research and Education
Kansas State University
Meat Import Council of America
North American Meat Institute
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association
Northeast Beef Promotion Initiative
National Livestock Producers Association
National Institute for Animal Agriculture
United States Cattlemen’s Association
United States Meat Export Federation
Figures presented within this report are based on data compiled by individual contractors. Unless indicated otherwise, results are based on October 1, 2018 to September 30, 2019 data.