Certified Angus Beef LLC reported record sales of its signature Certified Angus Beef brand for the ninth consecutive year, marketing 896 million pounds of product in fiscal 2015, ending Sept. 30. It’s also the 11th straight time the brand’s network of more than 17,500 licensed partners achieved year-over-year growth. The 1.6 percent increase represented an additional 14 million pounds of product.
“In spite of tight supplies and record high prices for a big part of the year, these results continue to drive home the fact that consumers’ purchasing decisions are not based on price alone,” said brand president John Stika. “Rather, it is a price-value decision that they make. Especially as food costs rise, consumers are willing to pay a slight premium for brands that deliver consistently higher quality.”
Monthly sales records and category growth
Three of the brand’s five best sales months in its 37-year history – August, July and May– were in fiscal 2015, each exceeding 80 million pounds and reflecting a promotional focus by licensed partners during summer grilling season. For eight months in fiscal 2015, sales exceeded those for the same month in fiscal 2014.
Sales of premium steak items (middle meats) totaled 206 million pounds, while sales of end meats grew by more than 14.5 million pounds. Ground beef sales increased 3.5 percent, illustrating the enduring appeal of premium burgers and ground beef’s versatility and convenience in home-cooked meals.
The brand’s Prime extension grew by nearly 2 percent, to achieve its highest level of sales since it was introduced in 2000. The brand’s Natural line also saw steady growth of 1.4 percent.
Success across divisions
Foodservice partners blazed the trail for growth with a sixth consecutive year of divisional record sales. In fiscal 2015, foodservice sales totaled 330 million pounds – a 10.6 percent increase. Nearly two-thirds of licensed foodservice distributors purchased more branded product than they had a year ago, demonstrating the brand’s ever-growing relevance to chefs, restaurateurs and patrons.
Quality-focused retailers continued to represent the largest portion of brand sales: 41 percent, totaling 367 million pounds sold to shoppers. Grocery partners featuring items in its circulars, helping answer the “what’s for dinner” dilemma, enjoyed the most sales.
Brand partners in 52 countries tied its record, set last year, by matching the 120 million pounds sold. Licensed partners in Mexico, the Middle East and Central and South America, in particular, demonstrated notable success in marketing the brand’s premium beef to discerning restaurant and retail customers.
Marinated fajitas, marinated tri-tips and precooked pot roast were key items driving growth of branded value-added products to its second highest level in the brand’s history. With sales of 23.5 million pounds, an increase of 6.5 percent over last year, processors responded to growing demand for high-quality convenience meals for both foodservice and retail customers.
Family farmers and ranchers focus on supplying quality beef
The family farmers and ranchers raising quality Angus beef that meet the brand’s 10 exacting standards are its foundation; their efforts enable licensed processors, retailers and restaurants to continue meeting consumers’ growing demand.
A variety of factors, including a historically small total U.S. cowherd, caused the number of Angus cattle to decline more than 8 percent this year. However, thanks to an overall, higher-quality herd, the supply was there to accommodate record brand sales. In fact, ranchers achieved a record-high acceptance rate (cattle meeting all of the brand’s standards) of 27.5 percent, which translated to an additional quarter-million cattle qualifying for the brand, or an additional 64 million pounds of branded product available.
“That kind of improvement doesn’t happen by chance,” said Stika. “It’s a reflection of the efforts of the entire community who intentionally focus on targeting the Certified Angus Beef brand for the past several years based on the economic signals that have come from the consumer. Our brand continues to help those who raise Angus cattle preserve a life they’re passionate about, and we remain committed to helping ranchers sustain what they have built for the next generation.”
The Certified Angus Beef brand’s 17,500 partners worldwide generate an estimated $6.9 billion in consumer sales annually. Founded in 1978 by real Angus ranchers, it was created with a shared belief that still drives the brand today: that its customers can taste the pride that goes into every cut. Chefs, retailers and consumers rely on the brand to bring Angus beef with unrivaled flavor, tenderness and juiciness to the table.
Source: Certified Angus Beef LLC