Beef Bits

Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
Feb 14, 2005
by WLJ

Wendy's results turn favorable
After a difficult autumn and early winter, Wendy's International saw its same-store sales edge up 0.5 percent in January at corporate locations, and 1.4 percent to 1.6 percent at franchised locations. Chairman Jack Schuessler said the turnaround, after months of declining same-store comparisons, was due to the performance of the Tim Hortons chain and the introduction in December of an option allowing customers to substitute a salad or baked potato, for the normal side order of fries.

Aussie exports to Japan firm
January saw Australian beef exports to Japan hold firm, with 21,053 metric tons shipped during the month, according to Meat and Livestock Australia. Although export volumes fell by 11 percent compared with January 2004 levels, beef exports in January 2005 were the second highest on record. Exports of grain-fed beef to Japan continue to be strong, as the Australian beef industry gears up to provide Japan with greater quantities of marbled beef. Grain-fed beef accounted for half of Australia’s beef exports to Japan in January, or 10,472 metric tons. In 2004, Australian exports of beef to Japan totaled 393,471 metric tons, with an additional
19,947 tons of processed beef exported to Japan. Exports of Australian unprocessed beef to Japan totaled $2.235 billion last year, a record for exports to this market.

Bone darkening prevention unveiled
Researchers at Kansas State University have found a way to keep the bones of packaged beef from darkening and becoming less appealing to grocery shoppers. The research, initiated by Kansas State University meat science specialist Michael Dikeman, tested three antioxidant treatments for their effectiveness at decreasing the discoloration of bones packaged in modified atmosphere packages. According to Dikeman, less discoloration of the bone occurred in packages manufactured with low oxygen and when a 2.5 percent ascorbic acid treatment was put on the bones. The study was funded by U.S. beef checkoff funds and Tyson Foods.

Packaged meats firm expands
Because of significantly increased customer demand for pre-sliced packaged foods, particularly roast beef and other meats, West Liberty Foods completed the expansion of its Mt. Pleasant, IA, slicing facility. The expansion doubled the capacity of the facility. The Mt. Pleasant facility is one of the most modern meat slicing facilities in the U.S. The facility was designed and is operated with total focus on food safety. West Liberty Foods is a producer-owned cooperative dedicated to co-manufacturing and private label production.

Miami test market for McDonald’s
Miami is getting a taste of what’s to come. The Oak Brook, IL-based company is using the Miami as a test market for its line of premium chicken sandwiches expected to be launched nationwide this fall, according to Boston-based restaurant analyst John Glass of CIBC World Markets. The sandwiches are available in several varieties: a classic with lettuce and tomato, club, spicy buffalo and bacon ranch. Served on toasted wheat buns, they are available with the choice of either fried or grilled chicken. Prices range from $2.99 to $3.79.

Argentina’s 2004 exports up 26%
Argentina exported 478,124 metric tons of beef in 2004, the animal- and food-inspection agency, Senasa, reported Feb. 7. That puts exports up 26 percent from 379,366 tons in 2003. Beef exports totaled $1.053 billion last year, up 51 percent from $694 million the previous year. Argentina exported these goods to more than 60 countries last year. The South American nation shipped 29.619 tons of beef—worth almost $210 million—to the European Union under the Hilton Import quota program. Non-Hilton-related chilled and frozen fresh beef shipments totaled 291,675 tons, or $602 million.

Farmers Union opposes timing of Canadian Rule
The reopening of the border to Canadian cattle could be devastating to Oklahoma producers. “March 7 paints a bulls-eye on Oklahoma stocker producers,” said Ray L. Wulf, Oklahoma Farmers Union (OFU) President/CEO, “because most cattle pasturing on wheat intended for harvest are moved off during the first two weeks of March. The bulk of our stocker producers’ income is realized at that time period,” he added.

Texas chef instructors study beef
Keeping up-to-date with the rapidly evolving beef product scene became a priority for 22 Texas Culinary Academy chef-instructors who attended a beef checkoff seminar in January at College Station. The seminar, co-hosted by the Texas Beef Council and Texas A&M University, taught the instructors about beef production from the pasture to product. The Texas Culinary Academy is headquartered in Austin.