BEDFORD, Pa. — The Beef Checkoff hosted a comprehensive two-day training in Frederick, Md., with eight influencers from across the Northeast region. The group consisted of chefs, registered dietitians and lifestyle/food bloggers. These influencers are valuable members of the beef community, with the opportunity bring the positive beef story to their circles of influence every day.
“We built on the successes of the training from last year and added some hands-on components, like a farm tour and recipe ideation/cooking session,” said Kaitlyn Carey, director of Consumer Affairs with the Northeast Beef Promotion Initiative. “We wanted to provide our Northeast influencers with tangible experiences and skills to share with their unique circles of influence.”
The training kicked off with a farm tour and roundtable discussion held at Hedgeapple Farm, a conception to consumption operation. Attendees had the chance to see several segments of the beef lifecycle, including cow/calf pairs grazing in the pasture, steers in the feedlot and the retail beef product on display in the farm market.
Day two featured a media training and mock interview session with Ryan Goodman, director of Grassroots Advocacy and Spokesperson Development with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff. His session left the influencers with confidence and skills to help prepare for any kind of interview or demo opportunity — phone, radio or on-air.
Laura Hagen, senior director of Culinary with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff, was on-hand to facilitate a recipe ideation session, where influencers selected a cut of beef and then ideated a recipe, they felt would resonate well with the consumer audience. Attendees then put their idea to work and created the beef dish for all to enjoy and sample. Hagen also shared some tips and tricks on the logistics of on-air demonstrations.
“The training was fantastic,” said Bill Collier, sales representative and executive chef with John Gross & Company. “The timeline that was put together allowed time for discussion as well as getting to know the other influencers and their background and skills. I greatly enjoyed the retail store visit where each member of the group was able to shop for a single dish, they would make featuring beef. We used our ingredients during a 90-minute cooking session. It was fun to see how everyone took their different beef cuts and made a delicious dish. I look forward to executing some on-air beef demonstrations and being a positive influencer for the beef community. Through my job I have the opportunity to speak to a lot of folks during my daily travel and look forward to continuing to spread the word.”
The next step is securing on-air television cooking demonstrations with the influencers surrounding peak beef consumption times, like summer grilling, tailgating and holiday roasting.
Events like this allow the Beef Checkoff to engage directly with our regional channel influencers, all while building them up as beef advocates. Arming these influencers with beef’s positive nutritional messaging will help us disseminate this vital information to more consumers. Beef checkoff-funded research in the Northeast shows that nutrition-focused efforts are making a difference with the Northeast’s metropolitan consumers. Messaging related to beef’s protein, lean cuts and essential nutrients appear to be reaching and favorably influencing consumers.
— Pennsylvania Beef Council