Op-Ed: The Beef Checkoff: Beef Demand Is a Well-Primed Pump
By Greg Hanes, CEO, Cattlemen's Beef Board
October 27, 2020
There seems to be a rash of articles and news pieces in ag media lately, focused on beef demand and its driving power and importance in everything from cattle prices to grocery store sales. The writers and experts all agree on this: the process of generating beef demand is like a well-primed pump. It provides the beef industry with the means to push our great product into the hands of hungry consumers the world over.
One of these articles summarized recent webinar information and data from Dr. Ted Schroeder and Dr. Glynn Tonsor, two leading agricultural economists at Kansas State University. The article starts with a key statement from Dr. Schroeder: “Prosperity of all beef industry participants hinges critically upon consumer demand. Every new dollar that enters the industry comes from the consumer. Without the consumer, we are out of business.”
He is correct, of course. Beef demand IS everything. Consumers have a vast array of protein choices. It is an extremely competitive protein market: beef, pork, chicken, meat alternatives – even products like beans and peanut butter. But how do we create demand for beef over all these other options? This is exactly what your Beef Checkoff is designed to do – create demand to make beef the first choice of consumers through promotion, research and education.
Even with the pandemic’s impact, the Beef Checkoff has been able to adapt and adjust programs to continue reaching those consumers and influencers. In many cases they have been able to increase program reach by shifting from in-person to virtual events. For example, events targeting middle and high school educators about beef – which typically have had 40 in-person attendees – are now reaching thousands online. Videos on veal production have reached nearly 11 million people since January.
A new Checkoff-funded video series, “Real Facts About Real Beef,” delivers facts directly to consumers from the source: beef farmers and ranchers, as well as credentialed experts in the fields of sustainability, human nutrition and more. This series is just one of the ways that the Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. brand has helped debunk myths about the beef industry – by delivering the facts straight to consumers at home.
Beef demand is strong, as seen by the stats showing that beef sales lead all retail animal protein sales since the pandemic hit. Yet our competition never slows down. Our focus is to keep that strong flow of information to consumers so they will want our product even more. The Beef Checkoff provides a wellspring of beef promotion and resources, and consumers are eating it up.