BEEF ...

Keeping beef top-of-mind at meat case

Consumers want to know more about beef

Helping consumers choose the right cut of beef is important for a positive beef experience. (Courtesy of Iowa Beef Industry Council)

AMES, Iowa — Consumers want to know more about beef when it comes to purchases at the retail meat case.  The Beef Checkoff Program serves as a resource to provide information to retailers and consumers to help bridge the gap about beef and how beef is raised.

With an industry goal of increasing beef demand by 2% per year for the next five years, the Beef Checkoff Program ensures that beef is top of mind when it comes to purchasing a protein at the meat case. Demand drivers for consumers include providing information about beef when the consumer is looking for it. With digital advertising efforts and the Interactive Butcher Counter on, consumers have the information they need to purchase a cut of beef that will be satisfying.

It is equally important that retailers behind the meat counter have the information they need about beef to answer consumer questions. Beef U, a comprehensive resource on all things beef, is an interactive training program to provide operators with information about the beef industry – spanning on hot topics from beef production and nutrition to today’s modern beef consumer.

What is happening with price at the retail case for beef?

Beef prices in the retail meat case have been changing. Compared to one year ago:

  • Beef dollar sales increased (+0.6); more beef sales this year.
  • Beef pound sales versus a year ago increased (+5.3%); more beef volume moved this year.
  • Average price per pound for beef decreased (-4.4%) to $4.67; beef decreased in price this year.
  • Beef retail feature activity increased (+10.8%), and beef remained the most featured protein (40.7% share); retailers placed beef on special more this year.

“Summer is a great time for consumers to visit the meat case to explore new cuts of beef,” comments Chris Freland, Executive Director of the Iowa Beef Industry Council. “Consumers can enjoy a wide variety of beef whether from a prepared beef kabob or an affordable steak.”

There are several new trends hitting supermarkets including prepared-foods sections and retail foodservice departments. In these areas of the supermarket, consumers can find convenience meals that are ready to heat and ready to eat. Research from the Beef Checkoff Program shows that consumers (7 out of 10) want to see more beef in the prepared-foods section. Consumers are purchasing meals from this area because they are looking for an easy and convenient option.

“This prepared-foods section provides an opportunity to increase demand for and sales of beef products,” comments Freland. “The Beef Checkoff Program continues to work with retailers to develop this concept in a way that meets the needs of the consumer market.”

Online grocery sales are growing with today’s consumers being busier than ever. In fact, 31% of consumers are forecasted to order groceries online this year, up from 19% in 2016. With that information, the Beef Checkoff Program wants to ensure consumers get the e-commerce experience they want when purchasing beef.  Although e-grocery sales have been growing, fresh foods can be more challenging to sell online. Consumers have identified the top three digital features that can be the most helpful when buying beef: a quality guarantee, a freshness guarantee, and photos of the actual cut.

To learn more about how the Beef Checkoff Program is keeping beef top of mind this summer, contact the Iowa Beef Industry Council or visit

— Iowa Beef Industry Council

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