During a time when sales of middle meats are traditionally slower, the checkoff's food and nutrition communications team, using conclusions drawn from checkoff-funded market research, is gearing up to capitalize on a month that boasts many familiar holidays and special occasions. Thus, the beef checkoff is initiating an "I Heart Beef” campaign.
The program was specifically designed to help strengthen interest in beef middle meats, cuts that have a proven return on investment for beef producers, by reminding consumers of their passion for great steaks like the T-bone and tenderloin. Not only that, but February is Heart Health Month.
"A growing body of evidence shows that lean beef, trimmed of visible fat, can be a part of a low saturated fat diet that does not increase heart disease risk factors,” says Dave Fugate, cow/calf producer from Greenback, Tenn., and chair of the Joint Public Relations Subcommittee. "The checkoff's I Heart Beef campaign is strategically positioned during a time when consumers tend to focus on dieting, and we're trying to make them aware of the heart health benefits of lean beef; meanwhile, aiming to increase sales of middle meats which aids the ultimate goal of the checkoff – increase beef demand.”
The checkoff-funded consumer survey used as a foundation for the campaign found:
- In this month of romance, beef is the preferred choice of Americans (62 percent) because nothing says love like a great steak dinner for Valentine's Day.
- Americans associate steak as a "best match” for love (44 percent), romance (42 percent) and passion (41 percent)—more so than other high-end proteins.
- When it's time to share that Valentine's Day meal, beef wins. A ribeye (35 percent) or T-bone steak (32 percent) are chosen as the best meal to share with a significant other.
- Americans most often associate beef with celebrations (50 percent), compared to chicken (18 percent), pork (17 percent) or fish (15 percent).
- Sixty-two percent of Americans say they choose to prepare beef if they are looking for gratitude or appreciation from their dinner partner.
- Fifty-three percent of Americans identify filet mignon as the food most associated with candlelight romance and 50 percent of Americans think filet mignon is the best way to say "I love you.”
The campaign includes numerous media outreach components, online and electronic communications, and communications and a recipe contest geared toward registered dietitians, encouraging them to share their love for lean beef. As an off-shoot of the national efforts, the campaign can then be tailored by state beef councils.
"This campaign will kick off in February but the benefit to beef producers is that its usefulness can be extended to other holidays such as St. Patrick's Day when consumers are celebrating the holiday with corned beef and cabbage,” says Fugate. "And there's something out there for everyone – if you'd like to participate as a producer, this program offers ways to be involved and help share the beef story so hopefully more people remember to ‘heart' beef during February. Watch your e-mail or contact your state beef council for more details.”
For more information about checkoff-funded initiatives, visit MyBeefCheckoff.com.