Meat Inspection Saved and Who Really Markets Beef
Mar 22, 2013
Congress isn’t as dysfunctional as everybody says. At least they seem to have lifted the derindering knife of Damocles that has been hanging over the meat industry since sequestration took over.
Nebraska’s checkoff doubters
Nebraska Cattlemen continues its series of meetings aimed at gauging the interest in an added checkoff for the state. They are running into doubters.
Without knowing the particular doubters mentioned in the article, we all know people who think like that. Their "I’m selling cattle, not beef. Selling beef is the packers job" attitudes are too common.
We’ll grant that the national the Beef Checkoff program has not stopped the slide in beef demand. Poultry has too much momentum. But consider the alternative. Look at your local grocers’ retail beef ads. How do they sell beef? By price. "Come to my store because my beef is cheaper than the competitor’s beef."
Is that the only message cattle producers, as the "manufacturers" of a product, want out there? Do you see ANY way that has a positive impact on cattle prices—to have your sales team’s only sales pitch depend on how cheaply they can sell—meaning, by defninition, buy--your product?
Leave it to retailers and that’s what you get.
Packers? Visit their websites. Tyson? Their beef page talks about how good Tyson is—not how good beef is. They don’t have any reason to sell beef vs. the other proteins. In fact, their "5 days of recipes" includes two days each of chicken and pork and one day of beef.
Cargill? At least they don’t sell chicken yet, but their pages are, again, primarily aimed at giving you the idea they’re a better source of meat than the other packers.
JBS owns feedlots—and cattle—as well as a chicken outfit. You might expect their page, at least, to promote beef as a healthful choice. But again, their message is about JBS.
We shouldn’t fault these guys for this. Their job—like retailers --is delivering what consumers want. If we leave the marketing to these guys, they will remain agnostic about the relative merits of beef and poultry and pork. If people want more of one, they will buy more of it. But they’d as soon sell one product as the other.
Cattle producers are to beef as General Motors is to cars. A manufacturer with tough competitors. GM doesn’t leave it to their dealers to promote the Chevy brand. The dealers don’t buy ads talking about how great Chevy pickups are. They compete against each other with prices and service—just like grocers and packers.
So GM and Ford and all those manufacturers spend millions telling us why we should buy the type of pickup they produce.
If you think of beef as a line of pickups competing with pickups made by poultry and pigs and shelves. The Cattlemen’s Beef Board is getting better and better at doing that, even though our chincy, short-sighted selves refuse to offer them decent funding.
Sounds like a lot of investors would like to see Smithfield get out of the vertical integration business.
This fellow seems to have faith in beef. This article on his new place includes a quotable pullout:
Q:With beef prices so high, why did you open a steakhouse?
A: Steak is something that every hotel concierge I ask says [consumers are] looking for.
Indiana’s proposed "ag gag" law seems to have stirred a bit of controversy.
Technomic’s survey says the restaurant business—including steak houses--is picking up.
Another vegan worries about his karma.
USDA moves on downer vealers.
The drought has them burning pear in parts of Texas.
There’s nothing like dry-aged beef, and here’s one man’s suggestion on how to do it.
Ethanol’s hard times.
AMI’s take on the red meat study.
The cattlemen in the Missouri’s cattle theft area would like some help.