Beef Briefs: September 2015

Did you know ... Beef Briefs is your monthly snapshot of beef checkoff news affecting the dairy and beef industries. 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 email Melissa Sandfort at

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... Japanese Journalists Get Look at U.S. Beef Industry

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Did You Know ...

... that the “doing-it-like-we’ve-always-done-it” or “we-don’t-like-change” approaches simply won’t do the trick in today’s competitive marketplace?

The entire beef chain – from farm to fork – must understand what consumers want from beef that would entice them to increase demand for this industry’s end products.

In short, consumers are in the driver’s seat when it comes to building demand for our end product, and in today’s marketplace, we cannot just toss our product out there and expect the crowds to swarm. If we don’t deliver exactly what consumers want, they’ll just choose something other than beef for their supper tables.

So it makes sense to start by asking them what they want from us, and that’s what why we base all of our checkoff decisions on sound market research. Read about it then SHARE the facts today!

Consumer Reports Study Confuses Serious Safety Issues, Potentially Misleading Consumers about Beef Safety

A Consumer Reports study recently released includes misleading information that could increase consumer confusion about food safety heading into the Labor Day weekend, say beef safety experts.

“I have relied on Consumer Reports when purchasing cars and electronics but unfortunately this report will not help consumers when purchasing safe ground beef. The good news is the bacteria found in the Consumer Reports tests are not the type of bacteria commonly associated with foodborne illness in ground beef,” says Mandy Carr-Johnson, Ph.D., senior executive director, Science and Product Solutions, for the beef checkoff.

Read the full article here.

Launching Schmacon at Retail

After two years of working with Schmaltz Deli Co., makers of Schmacon – which they describe as “beef’s alternative to bacon” – the checkoff supported Schmacon’s launch into the foodservice channel last year, and has since provided technical developmental assistance to the company to help bring an all-natural product to the retail channel. Two significant Iowa-based chains were the first to place orders for Schmacon, launching the product for sale at Hy-Vee and Fareway stores in August. This partnership not only brings viable beef product to the market, but introduces more beef to the breakfast table, in addition to lunch and supper! Extension to other retail companies is expected soon.

The Beef Experience

In early August, a small group of hand-selected, key health and food experts participated in an invitation-only Beef Experience that provided an opportunity for the beef checkoff to inspire a deeper understanding of how to choose and prepare beef. The three-day workshop in Denver gave participants the opportunity to learn more about beef nutrition, advance their cooking skills with beef, experience a visit to a Colorado ranch, and become experts at shopping the meat case. The participants shared their own experiences throughout the event using a variety of social media platforms and the hashtag #KnowYourBeef. One of the most photographed and shared lessons on the agenda gave participants the chance to sharpen their knife skills by creating steaks and roasts from larger subprimals -- with the help of meat scientists. Participants continue to share their favorite takeaways through blog posts and social media.

Continuing Education for Retail and Foodservice Professionals

The checkoff’s Beef University is a free, one-of-a-kind training program for retail and foodservice operators that offers downloadable training tools such as PowerPoint presentations, fact sheets and videos to use for staff trainings or professional development. Topics include Menuing, Retail Merchandising, Food Safety and many more. Beef U is available as an online platform that lets members share feedback on training courses and express interest in additional education needs. Since its inception in January 2014, nearly 900 people have registered on the site. To learn more about this great tool visit: 

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The beef checkoff increases beef demand through promotion, research and new product development, and a variety of other marketing tools.