Beef Industry Scan provides insight and research to checkoff programs

Feb 14, 2014
by WLJ

During the 2014 Annual Cattle Industry Convention, key checkoff leaders and investors from across the country heard about the recently conducted Beef Industry Scan.

This scan provides current and compelling research and information to understand the trends and market characteristics—in place or developing—that beef producers must consider in setting priorities and planning programs for their checkoff investments in the following year.

This year’s scan provided information that allowed the Long Range Plan Advisory Group to make the necessary refinements.

In her address to beef and dairy producers, Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB) CEO Polly Ruhland reviewed some of the highlights of the scan:

• It emphasizes the importance of evidence to support desired outcomes.

• The beef industry must be resourceful and smart in making research investments because challenged research can negate efforts if it reduces confidence or makes the work appear biased.

• Another critical piece is the need to identify and engage with consumer target audiences in delivering beef messages. That includes research that defines “millennials”— those born between 1980 and 1995—as a target audience and explores their behaviors and demands when it comes to marketing and making decisions about beef for their families.

• Research indicates that the most important quality millennials look for in their food is a combination of taste, convenience and health. They also are interested in trying new ways of preparing food, frequently trying new cuisines from around the world, and are willing to pay more for food that meets their requirements.

• The operating committee last year approved a consumer advertising and marketing program that is moving to a digital-only distribution platform for marketing beef to millennials. Research indicates that almost 70 percent of millennials say they go first to the internet when they need information about anything—including beef.

• Millennials—known for staying close to their mobile devices and social networks— are much more likely to share what they learn and more likely to buy a product or food that their friends recommend on social media.

• The Beef Demand Determinant Study that the checkoff commissioned and shared last spring identified seven key beef demand drivers with price, food safety and product quality considered to have the most compelling effects on beef demand. Other key drivers are health, nutrition, social aspects and sustainability.— WLJ