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Frequently Asked Questions

Checkoff-funded consumer research shows us that the key generation for beef marketing – millennials – practically lives on digital devices. They use platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram to get beef recipes, information and industry news. They see what their fellow consumers are saying about beef, then look elsewhere online to check if the information is scientifically sound. Most important for beef producers, they look to social media for quick and convenient recipe ideas to feed their families and help them thrive1

Your Beef Checkoff program is working diligently to make real, meaningful connections with these consumers to share positive, science-based stories about all things beef. It is the checkoff’s “Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner.” campaign that reaches this target audience in an authentic, genuine way – not only through the communication channels they use most but also through hands-on opportunities with Millennial influencers that are genuine beef advocates.

While challenging, all of these interests translate to tremendous opportunities for the Beef Checkoff program. Millennials are a growing generation, with expanding families and influence, who will make beef-buying decisions for the next 40-plus years.

The future of the industry depends heavily on this next generation of beef eaters, and your checkoff is seeing to it that they have the information to increase their confidence in you and your end product, making sure that beef remains “What’s for Dinner” for generations to come.

Connecting With Consumers Through “Chuck Knows Beef”

By the year 2020, 50 percent of all searches will be voice searches.2 That is why the checkoff is connecting with this important audience through “Chuck Knows Beef,” an all-knowing beef expert available on Amazon Alexa and Google Home. Chuck gives users the ability to connect with recipes and cooking information found on “Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner.”through voice activation. With nearly a half million sessions since being launched in 2018, the “Chuck Knows Beef” digital assistant, powered by Google Artificial Intelligence, is keeping beef information easily accessible for consumers. Chuck is available for download at ChuckKnowsBeef.com

Frequently Asked Questions

More and more consumers are using smart speakers in their kitchens, creating opportunities for beef to engage with them during the cooking process.

Chuck Knows Beef, the only all-knowing virtual beef expert powered by Google Artificial Intelligence, is here and ready to help consumers as their personal guide to all things beef. Chuck Knows Beef was developed by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association as a contractor to the Beef Checkoff to address the Beef Industry’s Long Plan Range priority of revolutionizing the beef shopping experience.

As tech savvy millennials become parents, beef is meeting the need of this new generation of family cooks looking for food inspiration and information with the invention of Chuck. There are nearly 50 million smart speaker owners in the U.S. today1, with the two most popular devices being the Amazon Alexa and the Google Home Assistant, and Chuck Knows Beef is available as a “skill” on both of these popular smart speakers. People can also access Chuck Knows Beef through their mobile phone, tablet or desktop computer at the BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com or the vanity website ChuckKnowsBeef.com. There have been more than 13 million visits to the BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com since it relaunched in October 2017, and Chuck brings all of the beef knowledge from the website into these popular smart-speakers.

Who is the smart speaker consumer?

Why is this relevant?

Seventy percent of people agree that technical support would be helpful when shopping for beef with another 65 percent agreeing it would influence their purchasing decisions. 2Based on this research, Chuck was designed to fit consumer needs with instant access to recipes, cut and nutritional information and cooking tips – plus a whole lot more. If a user finds a recipe through Chuck, he can even text them the shopping list!

“Artificial Intelligence and its role in marketing are rapidly evolving every day, and the Beef Checkoff is on the cutting edge by investing in this technology to constantly meet changing consumer expectations,” said Season Solorio, Senior Executive Director, Brand Marketing & Communications, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff, who manages the “Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner.” brand. “In March we will turn things up a notch with an exciting campaign that will be an integrated effort, including digital advertising, media relations, influencer engagement and supply chain activities, to bring more widespread awareness to Chuck.”

From artificial intelligence to virtual reality ranch tours, beef continues to embrace technology in new ways. Through the introduction of Chuck, the checkoff is enhancing consumers’ knowledge and experience with beef at the store and in the kitchen. Chuck also provides the opportunity to have a real-life focus group so that the Beef Checkoff can constantly understand what the consumer needs and wants in real-time and understand the nuances in how people talk about beef.

Quickly access Chuck at ChuckKnowsBeef.com, or enable Chuck Knows Beef with any Amazon Alexa or Google Home Assistant, and join the 500,000 consumers who have visited Chuck so far.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Northeast influencers got an inside look at Pennsylvania’s veal industry through “Raising Today’s Veal,” a VIP event hosted Sept. 18 to 19, 2018, in Souderton, Pennsylvania. The tour offered an opportunity to learn about the veal industry in depth, talk with a local veal producer and tour the Marcho Processing Plant in order to better understand the veal community.

Donna Moenning, a facilitator of the Veal Quality Assurance Program, kicked off the VIP evening on September 18, introducing veal and how these cattle are raised. To further engage our influencers, she touched on industry standards and the level of commitment to quality care by the farm families that raise them. To help tell that story, Mike Kunsman, a veal producer from La Jose, Pennsylvania, went through the day-to-day tasks on his farm, explaining all the care and dedication that goes into raising quality, nutritious protein. Mike is a third-generation farmer and has been a grower for Marcho for the past 16 years.

Dr. Aydin, Director Research and Nutrition at Marcho Farms, Inc., and Robert Supanick, representative from Mountain States Rosen, also joined the evening gathering to provide insight on all aspects of the veal community. VIP evening attendees included five Registered Dietitians from Massachusetts, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, as well as three career chefs and culinary instructors from Pennsylvania.

The following day, the influencer group and students from the Culinary Institute of Philadelphia joined for a tour of the Marcho Processing Plant, which began as a two-person veal farm when founder Wayne Marcho purchased his first calf in 1969. Today, the Marcho family operates a fully-integrated veal and lamb manufacturing facility — providing premium veal cuts and products for families to enjoy nationwide and globally. Attendees toured the Marcho Feed Mill where precision and science are weaved together to create a balanced, milk-replacer formula, which all the veal growers feed to their calves. The tour then led influencers and students through the harvest floor, processing center and cutting rooms where veal products were cut down and packaged to be shipped to retail and foodservice establishments.

To the surprise of many attendees, the veal animals were a lot larger than expected, being upwards of 500 pounds at the time of harvest, helping to put into perspective how the veal landscape has changed over the year. Many were also excited to hear that all veal calves are now raised in group housing barns, a national initiative that was achieved in 2017.

Dr. Sonia Arnold, Manager of Nutrition, Research and Quality Control, and Chad Yoder, Calf Procurement, both of Marcho Farms, led the group through their facility. The day ended with a Veal Parmesan lunch and discussions on how veal is marketed by Anthony Tomassian, a Manufacturer Sales Representative for Marcho.

Throughout the experience, attendees were encouraged to ask questions and openly engage in dialogue with Marcho executives, veal growers and industry members. With the veal community opening their doors to showcase how today’s veal is raised, the Beef Checkoff was able to highlight the improvements the industry has made through group housing and help dispel myths surrounding veal production.

Pre- and post-tour survey results showed a 40 percent attitudinal shift towards a positive favorability rating for beef with all participants citing they feel the positives of beef outweigh the negative.

“I was amazed at how much care was taken at each stage of the veal process, from feeding the calves superior nutrition to housing and transporting them in a clean, safe and humane environment,” commented Kim Schwabanbauer. “This industry has come a long way and that is a story that demands to be told. The other real surprise was the sustainability aspect with the use of an animal that would otherwise be discarded. Every piece of the animal was used in a way that made sense for consumption or for the environment, right down to the heart linings being sent to St. Jude’s Hospital for research. There was a lot of thought put into how to make everything work for the good of the order.”

Attendees were encouraged to check out VealFarm.com and VealMadeEasy.com for more information, recipes, nutrition information and more.

This tour was made possible by the Pennsylvania Beef Council and the checkoff’s Northeast Beef Promotion Initiative with funding support from the Kentucky Beef Council. To learn more about the Pennsylvania Beef Council, visit www.pabeef.org.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Consumer purchasing decisions directly impact the way producers raise beef. The Beef Checkoff invests dollars toward meat profiling and product development, which helps drive demand at the meat counter and increases the overall value of beef.

Chuck Kiker, beef producer from Texas, is proud of the work the checkoff has done to deliver lean cuts the consumer wants.

“Meat profiling and developing new products is one of the best things the checkoff has done to make the value of that carcass go up,” says Kiker.

“We had so many cuts of meat that weren’t high-dollar cuts that would end up in grind, and it was very important to add value to those cuts. That is one of the things the checkoff has been able to do.”

By investing in muscle profiling research, the Beef Checkoff has been able to identify lean, tender muscles that consumers find desirable. The flat iron steak and petite tender are two examples of beef products that became available as a direct result of checkoff investments.

“It gave [the food service industry] an alternative to a high-priced steak dinner,” says Kiker. “They could go with a petite cut tender or a flat iron steak and have beef on the menu. That was huge for the beef industry and put a lot of money back into the value of that carcass.”

The Beef Checkoff has made investments to ensure beef remains a top protein choice amongst consumers. Through research and promotion, consumers have more options than ever when it comes to purchasing beef cuts.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Nicholas Coombes and bull calf

Nicholas Coombes, age 10, shows off his bull calf, which will be exhibited at the New York State Fair this fall.

Consumers’ choices for purchasing beef gets more diverse every day. Traditional brick-and-mortar grocery stores are still a primary solution, however internet-based grocers or complete dinner solutions from online meal kit delivery services, like HelloFresh, are reliable options.

HelloFresh ships boxes of refrigerated ingredients and recipes to customers who prepare and cook the meals themselves. A large portion of their customer base is in the Northeast, where approximately a quarter of the nation’s population lives.

On August 25, 2017, the National Beef Checkoff hosted a group from the New York City HelloFresh corporate office for a full-day beef immersion experience at Thunder View Farms in Grahamsville, New York. The Richard Coombes and Philip Coombes families head Thunder View, which prides itself on raising high-quality Angus genetics. The company retains ownership of its calves through finishing, then direct markets the finished cattle.

Hello Fresh at Thunder View Farms beef tour

Thunder View Farms beef tour with NYC-based meal kit delivery company, HelloFresh. This immersion event was made possible by the Colorado Beef Council through a grant to the Northeast Beef Promotion Initiative, a contractor to the beef checkoff program.

Following the morning farm tour, which included discussions on cattle feeding, reproduction, selection and herd health, the group was treated to a lunch of smoked beef brisket, courtesy of Thunder View Farms. Kari Underly, author of “The Art of Beef Cutting,” led the group through an in-depth, beef-cutting demonstration of the beef shoulder clod, chuck roll, top sirloin and sirloin tip. The objective of the demonstration was to inspire HelloFresh to incorporate a wider variety of beef cuts in the meal-kits for customers to enjoy.

Cindy Chan Phillips, M.S., MBA, RD, and the New York Beef Council’s Director of Nutrition Education, a position funded by Nebraska and Kansas Beef Councils, addressed the group with a presentation on beef nutrition.

“We really enjoyed having the HelloFresh dietitian and protein buyers on this tour. They are dedicated to offering nutritious, tasty and sustainable foods to their customers. It was exciting to share the latest Beef WISE research on how lean beef as part of a heart healthy diet helps improve heart health and weight loss.”

At the conclusion of the event, Bridget Wasser, M.S., executive director of Meat Science and Technology at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) and Meghan Pusey, executive director of Consumer Marketing with NCBA, both contractors to the beef checkoff, addressed the group via a webinar and discussed the value beef brings to the e-commerce space and how to capitalize on it.

Rebecca Lewis, M.S., R.D.N., Head Dietitian with HelloFresh U.S., commented following the tour, “The love and dedicated care of the calves, cows, steers and bulls were very evident. The team enjoyed seeing the vast open space of green grass pastures the herd was able to roam upon, and learning about the genetic breeding program to create a 5-star, high-quality premium beef product. We felt the experience was incredibly valuable to better understand the nutrition and value of incorporating lean beef into recipe development. The beef cutting demonstration was particularly illustrative of how many different cuts are available for purchase, and the suggestions for use in recipe development were much appreciated.”

For more information visit NortheastBeef.org.