Beef producers and importers who invest in the Beef Checkoff Program have a lot to be thankful for as we approach the Fourth of July holiday – one of the strongest beef-buying weekends of the year – with a thriving market and robust prices that reflect strong consumer preference for beef!
Producer support for the beef checkoff is 78 percent – its highest in 21 years, according to the latest producer attitude survey. The checkoff program includes things like promotion and education to and for consumers, retailers and restaurant owners; extensive beef-safety, product-enhancement, human-nutrition and market research to identify and respond to consumers’ changing demands for beef and beef products; beef-industry training, from farm to fork, to help everyone in the production chain take responsibility for their roles in maintaining a desirable product; and foreign-marketing efforts in about 80 countries across the globe – all with a $1-per-head investment.
So what are some of the results that beef producers and importers have helped bring to fruition through their beef checkoff that are making this year’s Independence celebration a bountiful one? Let’s take a quick look at just a few key milestones and accomplishments:
- Consumer demand for beef has remained strong throughout the latest recession and despite one of the tightest beef supplies in history. Consumer demand for beef advanced 2 percent in 2013, according to ag economist Glynn Tonsor of Kansas State University.
- Consumers remain steadfast in their willingness to pay more for beef, even as beef prices set new highs. In June 2014, they said they would pay $7.52 per pound for steak, up 18.4 percent from May 2014, according to the Oklahoma State University’s monthly Food Demand Survey.
- More than 39 percent of participants in a Google poll in June 2014 said they are likely to grill or eat beef over the July 4th holiday as opposed to chicken (23.6 percent), pork (12.2 percent), seafood or fish (7.3 percent), turkey (4 percent) or none of the above.
- Beef finished first in foodservice from 2009 to 2013, making more money in restaurants than any other protein and racking up the largest pound increase – up 178 million pounds – of any protein, and representing 32 percent of the total protein market in foodservice with sales of 8 billion pounds in the last year alone!
- With millions of checkoff dollars a year ($7.5 million in 2014) going to promotions of and education and training about U.S. beef across the globe, the value of U.S. beef exports in 2013 eclipsed the $6 billion mark for the first time, surpassing 2012 totals by nearly 13 percent in volume and 12 percent in value.
- Thanks to those results in the global marketplace, the export value of fed slaughter is currently about $260 per head, up from $207 per head a year ago.
The bottom line is that beef is driving traffic to grocery stores and the meat case this grilling season. In a recent survey, Americans said that they are twice as likely to visit a grocery store that's promoting beef for grilling over a store that promotes any other protein.
Independent economic research has long declared that the beef checkoff makes a tremendous difference for the bottom lines of its investors – compared to what they would be without checkoff investments – and early indications from a new Return on Investment study coming out later this month promise continued evidence of the same.
So pass out the party hats and the sparklers, don your favorite patriotic attire, and fly your American Flag with pride this weekend. Then fire up those grills, and treat your family and friends to the sure winner – BEEF – knowing that you have everything to do with its success!