Brand Update 2019: Year in Review

certifiedangusbeef

A global community from gate to plate that is focused on quality propels the Certified Angus Beef ® brand’s success. View our 2019 Brand Update for an overview of the people, initiatives and relationships that fueled a 15th consecutive year of growth and the fulfillment of our mission since 1978: to create demand and add value for Angus cattle, and support the family farmers and ranchers who raise it.

CertifiedAngusBeef.com

Volume 23 Issue 1

A global community propels the brand’s success


BRAND UPDATE 2019

Managing Editor: Jennifer Schertz

Senior Editor: Steve Suther

Art Director: David Barry

Designer: Tina Melicant

Circulation Manager: Beth Barner

Contributing Writers: Courtney Middleton,

Miranda Reiman

President: John F. Stika, Ph.D.

Senior Executive Vice President: Brent Eichar

Executive Vice Presidents: Tracey Erickson,

David MacVane, Mark Polzer, Steve Ringle

2019-20 Board of Directors:

John F. Grimes, Chairman, Hillsboro, Ohio

James W. Henderson, Childress, Texas

Dave Hinman*, Malta, Montana

Mike McCravy, Bowdon, Georgia

Allan Miller*, Gridley, Illinois

Dwight “Kip” Palmer, Rochester, New York

Jonathan Perry, Fayetteville, Tennessee

Mark McCully, Vice Chairman,

CEO American Angus Association ® ,

St. Joseph, Missouri

John Stika, President, Certified Angus

Beef LLC, Wooster, Ohio

Brent Eichar, Secretary Treasurer, Certified

Angus Beef LLC, Wooster, Ohio

* New board member

Board Members through

November 2019:

Jerry Connealy, Chairman,

Whitman, Nebraska

Mick Varilek, Geddes, South Dakota

Published by:

American Angus Association ®

c/o Certified Angus Beef LLC

206 Riffel Road

Wooster, OH 44691-8588 USA

Phone: 330-345-2333

Fax: 330-345-0808

CertifiedAngusBeef.com

The Certified Angus Beef ® brand name

and marks are service/trademarks of

Certified Angus Beef LLC.

© 2019 Volume 23, Issue 1,

published annually. All rights reserved.

Cover Photo:

A global community of partners from gate

to plate propels the Certified Angus Beef ®

brand’s success, helping provide a more sustainable

future for all.

Classic London Broil


PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE

A brand—any brand, or

our brand in particular—is

a promise. For starters, it

represents a set of specific

product attributes, like

size, texture or flavor. It’s

also a kind of shorthand

representing a consistent

level of quality. As such, a

brand also becomes tied

to reputation. People seek

out their preferred brands

because they know they

represent a good experience

and count on them to deliver

positively on the price-tovalue

ratio.

The best brands can also

build relationships. Loyal

customers not only recognize

their favorite brands and

regularly purchase them, but

feel a sense of familiarity or even a kind of friendship with them. The brand feels

“right.” It feels, in a sense, like home. And while that feeling may take different forms

depending on the environment, the affinity is universal at its core.

Since the Certified Angus Beef ® brand’s start, the global community of those who

bring it to the table have cultivated and continue to elevate all these markers of its

equity. They have made the brand the standard-bearer of the better beef movement.

CONSUMER DEMAND,

AMPLE SUPPLY SPUR

GROWTH P. 7

A SEAT AT

THE TABLE P.11

WE ARE CHAMPIONS...

OF THE BRAND P. 17

INNOVATION

ADDS VALUE P. 21

TRADING UP P. 27

IT’S PERSONAL P. 33

SHARING THE

BRAND’S STORIES P. 37

BRAND ON THE

BIG STAGE P. 41

SEEKING

SUSTAINABILITY P. 45

BUILDING

CONNECTIONS WITH

CATTLEMEN P. 49

It starts at the ranch, where farmers and feeders have, for many years, placed a focus

on quality in the way they breed, raise and care for their cattle. That focus, and those

values, remain unbroken through the chain bringing the brand to the table, from

processors, to distributors, to restaurants and chefs or retailers and butchers.

It’s an entire community, working individually and collectively, to not only deliver

on the brand’s mission to increase demand for registered Angus cattle, but give

consumers in 51 countries a brand they trust, value and crave. At the same time, the

brand has become a key component of its partners’ own successes.

Since 1978, the Certified Angus Beef ® brand, which not only pioneered the concept of

branded beef but empowered an entire industry along the way, has created countless

relationships from gate to plate. These relationships comprise our brand story. They

are, in fact, our brand—one that starts with a quality product and goes much, much

further. They are what’s built the brand we’re all part of today.

Thank you for your continued commitment and leadership. We’re grateful for all the

ways you embrace the brand, and for allowing us to be a part of your success. As we

consider the potential to further advance your business and our mission together in

the coming year, know that our team is excited to continue supporting your efforts.

MacVane, Mark Polzer,

President John F. Stika, Ph.D.

The Certified Angus Beef ® brand is

the original Angus brand, founded

in 1978 by Angus cattlemen. Our

mission has remained the same since

day one: To increase demand for

registered Angus cattle through a

specification-based branded beef

program to identify consistent, high

quality beef with superior taste.

Our strategies:

• Maximize brand integrity

• Provide unparalleled customer service

• Grow brand awareness

• Innovate with new products

• Increase brand sales with licensed

accounts


CHAIRMAN’S MESSAGE

There’s no other way to put it. Mother Nature

has made it challenging this year, from a

severe winter to extremely wet spring with

both floods and blizzards. Cattlemen have

been selling fewer calves, at prices that are not

as good as they have been, and yet the mood

in cattle country is hopeful.

There’s always light at the end of the tunnel.

We know averages usually play out pretty

true, and historically we’ve seen that when

cattlemen rebuild herds, they reload with

better genetics. I think we’ll see an even higher

marbling herd, set up for more profitability

down the road.

I’ve been impressed with what my fellow

cattlemen have done, raising a record supply

of the Certified Angus Beef ® brand, but I’m

equally impressed by those who market the

product. I want to send out a huge thank you

for all you do.

As cattlemen, we really do take a huge amount of pride in what we’re doing, and in seeing the Certified Angus

Beef ® brand logo anywhere—on a menu, on a truck driving down the highway, or in a grocery store—there is a

surge of pride in knowing we are producing the best, and you’re then taking that to market.

The economic signals you send all the way back down the chain say we need more high-quality, high-marbling

product that qualifies for the brand. That makes my life and my family’s life a whole lot easier. We’re able to

sell high-quality Angus bulls at a premium, and our customers can do the same with their calves. Keep sending

that signal to us, and we’ll make more of the product you need.

Looking ahead, I’m excited for the growth of the brand, both domestically and internationally. There are a

lot of possibilities as we expose people in different countries to the brand and give them the opportunity to

experience what we’ve experienced here in the States.

As I write this, I’m selecting bulls with an eye on better positioning my herd and the Angus breed. I’m thinking

about the future and, ultimately, I’m excited to produce more cattle that meet the brand’s standards down the

road. I’m thankful to be part of this team effort.

Respectfully,

Jerry Connealy

Whitman, Neb.

Chairman, 2018-19 Certified Angus Beef LLC Board of Directors


2019 Brand Update 5


Total sales: 1.25 billion lbs. (up 3.1%)

13th consecutive record year

Year-over-year growth since 2004

FISCAL 2019 SALES BY DIVISION

8.8 %

537.5 MILLION LBS. 4.6 %

424 MILLION LBS. .2 %

207.5 MILLION LBS. 23.2 %

RETAIL

FOODSERVICE

INTERNATIONAL

MISC*

81 MILLION LBS.

*cannot be assigned to a specific division

FISCAL 2019 SALES BY PRODUCT CATEGORY

3.4 %

760 MILLION LBS. 4.2 %

275 MILLION LBS. .9 %

215 MILLION LBS. 14.7 %

END MEATS

MIDDLE MEATS

GROUND BEEF

VALUE-ADDED

33.5 MILLION LBS.

ANGUS-INFLUENCED CATTLE ID

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

12.7 M

13.6 M

15.2 M

15.9 M

16.2 M

CARCASSES CERTIFIED

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

3.5 M

3.9 M

4.5 M

5.2 M

5.7 M

®

CAB ACCEPTANCE RATE

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

27.5 %

28.9 %

29.7 %

32.5 %

35.0 %


ONSUMER DEMAND, AMPLE

SUPPLY SPUR GROWTH

CGlobal network of brand partners achieve 13th consecutive year of record sales

For a mature brand, sales growth, particularly over several consecutive years, is far from guaranteed.

Sure, having a high quality product helps. But sustained success takes intention, a focus on shared

goals, and commitment from the entire community behind the brand, said John Stika, president of

Certified Angus Beef LLC.

It’s a recipe for achievement that succeeded once again for the Certified Angus Beef ® brand in fiscal

2019. For the 13th year in a row, the brand saw record global sales. It was also the 15th consecutive

year of sales growth.

The brand’s global network of nearly 19,000 licensed processor, foodservice and retail partners

marketed 1.25 billion pounds of product, a 3.1% increase—or an additional 38 million pounds—over

the previous year.

It starts, Stika said, with “an entire community of Angus farmers, ranchers and feeders being extremely

intentional over several years in the way they breed, raise and care for their cattle with a focus on quality.”

But, Stika added, all those from farm to plate who bring product to consumers must be credited as well.

“It takes a great number of people filling different yet connected roles,” he noted. “Fortunately, there is a

lot of room at the brand’s table, where integrity, a passion for quality and a desire to lead are shared by

everyone who pulls up a chair.”

2019 Brand Update 7


MONTHLY SALES RECORDS AND

CATEGORY GROWTH

Records were set in all but 3 months of fiscal 2019; 6

months ranked among the top 10 sales months in the

brand’s 41-year history. Powered by strong consumer

demand and relatively steady market prices, sales records

spanned product categories.

Sales of premium steaks (middle meats), a perennial engine,

grew by 4.2%. End meats were up 3.4%, and ground beef

sales, boosted by the better burger movement, grew by 2

million pounds.

Historically high availability of the most highly marbled

product propelled sales of the Certified Angus Beef ® brand

Prime product extension by 36.6%. Once marketed almost

exclusively by foodservice partners, retailers from coast to

coast took advantage of the opportunity to enhance their

offerings and appeal to their most discerning customers. (See

related story, Page 27.) Consumer choice also drove sales

of the brand’s Natural product line, raised on a completely

vegetarian diet with no added hormones or antibiotics.

DIVISIONAL SUCCESS

Global sales outside U.S. borders reached an all-time high of

207.5 million pounds, demonstrating the universal appeal

of top-quality beef among diverse cultures and markets.

Leading the way in growth was Japan, followed by Taiwan,

Colombia and the Dominican Republic.

FAMILY FARMERS’ FOCUS ON QUALITY

BOOSTS DEMAND, BEEF COMMUNITY

The family farmers and ranchers at the heart of the Certified

Angus Beef ® brand continued to build on a years-long focus

on quality, raising more cattle that met the brand’s 10

exacting standards. The rate of Angus cattle eligible to earn

the brand rose to a record 35%, a collective improvement

that translated into increased supply of 470,000 head.

“That increase is significant because it doesn’t happen by

random chance,” said Stika. “It represents an entire community

focused on quality, which came about directly through the

economic signals generated by the additional demand for the

Certified Angus Beef ® brand among consumers.”

To put that trend in context, Stika noted that since 1998,

when beef demand was at an all-time low, the entire beef

industry has experienced a $60 billion increase in annual

consumer expenditures.

“Quality improved, and demand followed suit,” he

explained. “Certified Angus Beef ® brand, through the efforts

of its partners, has been a meaningful part of that success.

Through their commitment, they’ve helped direct the entire

industry, drawing it closer to the consumer. As they do so,

they’re providing a more sustainable future for all.”

Representing 43% of total brand sales, the retail division

grew for the fourth consecutive year: up 8.8% to achieve an

all-time record of 537.5 million pounds. In addition to Prime

product driving sales, retailers increasingly chose to feature

the brand rather than a lower-priced protein option on the

front page of their circulars. Creative seasonal promotions

focusing on summer grilling, tailgating and holiday roasting

also captured consumers’ attention.

Marking a decade of continuous, consistent growth was

the foodservice division, which achieved a 4.6% increase.

Upscale fine dining and steakhouse business, along with the

gourmet burger and barbecue categories, drove this growth.

Led largely by the efforts of licensed distributors, restaurants

that actively promoted the brand on their menus increased

sales by an average 10% over the previous year.

Also for the 10th consecutive year, sales of branded valueadded

products set a new record, exceeding 33 million

pounds. The jump was driven by processors responding to

increasing consumer demand for high-quality convenience

items. Eighteen of 21 product categories experienced

growth, led by foodservice accounts purchasing marinated

thin meats and smoked brisket, while retailers drove sales of

marinated end meats.


Walter Angus, Hudson, Colo.

2019 Brand Update 9


The Hadrick family, Faulkton, S.D.

Jonathan Perry is at home in two parts of

the beef community: at Deer Valley Farms

in Fayetteville, Tenn., and at Hickory House

Restaurant, Pulaski, Tenn.

SHELTERING GENERATIONS

The American Barn

A new book, “Sheltering Generations – the American Barn,” celebrates the integral role barns play in rural America, and the families whose lives are

centered there. One hundred percent of book sales benefit the brand’s new Rural Relief Fund, providing aid to rural communities in times of natural disaster.


SEAT AT THE TABLE

AFrom the ranch to the table, the brand brings together many communities

It was an April blizzard, not long after cleaning up from the last one, which struck South Dakota with

the force of a Category 2 hurricane. When rancher Troy Hadrick described the challenge of caring for his

cows and their calves born during that storm, his voice wavered and eyes welled up with tears. Between

the stress on his cattle and the stress on his wife and three teenagers, it was an emotionally and physically

exhausting experience.

Even six months later, the feelings were raw.

“It was a tough winter, but I tell you what, those kids never quit and my wife never quit. We didn’t save

them all, but we did pretty good,” he recalled. “You’ve got this unwritten, unspoken contract with your

cows, that you’ll take care of them. In turn, they’ll take care of you. And we did the best we could.”

Hadrick shared those struggles and emotions with a cross section of brand partners, and there wasn’t a dry

eye in sight. Salespersons, restaurateurs, retailers: they bowed their heads or grabbed a handkerchief with

deep respect for the grit and love it takes to raise Angus cattle, no matter what hand Mother Nature deals.

Meanwhile, Hadrick’s fellow ranchers nodded in empathy, as they remembered their own hardships over the

years: the fires, floods, tornadoes and droughts. The list continues. But it’s not just these difficulties that bring

ranching families together. It’s their traditions, values and passion that hold them close despite the miles of

rolling hills, green pastures, mountain ranges, prairies or deserts that separate their homesteads.

While helping write a new coffee table book, “Sheltering Generations—The American Barn,” Miranda

Reiman, the brand’s director of producer communications, witnessed the ranching community’s

neighborly love and similarities firsthand.

“Bringing all their stories together in one book highlights the diversity of families who raise cattle in varied

environments and business climates,” she says. “Yet, it showed the way they’re all the same: they believe

in this brand.”

The book specifically features the 40 families who were a part of the brand’s 40th anniversary Brand the

Barn logo-painting journey. Like Hadrick, most of this group also attended Annual Conference, where they

intermingled with attendees. That let those new to the beef community learn about the people responsible

for the product they sell or cook.

The ranchers’ appearance, along with Hadrick’s presentation, inspired members across the brand

community to purchase the book; 100% of sales benefit the brand’s new Rural Relief Fund, established to

aid farm and ranch communities when disaster strikes.

“Though we all try to help each other when we can, you can’t always make it to a neighbor’s place during

a blizzard. But, we can help them in the aftermath, and I think that’s what the Rural Relief Fund can do.

It’s another way for us to come together to help our neighbors and friends,” Hadrick shared.

Whether it’s at brand events, industry events like the Angus or National Cattlemen’s Beef Association

conventions, bull sales or cattle shows, they are sure to run into a friendly face, a familiar handshake and

a question about how the family, and cattle, are doing back home.

This dedicated group of people backs the Certified Angus Beef ® brand and supplies the very best Angus beef

in the world while also working together to ensure the land and resources are in good shape for future

generations. Without them, there’d be no guarantee of beef to sell or eat, no beautiful barns to admire in

the glow of a sunset, and no guarantee this special way of life could be possible for their children.

2019 Brand Update 11


AT THE TABLE

While the bond among Angus farmers and ranchers is special,

it’s not the only one facilitated by being a part of the larger

brand community. At each link in the chain, relationships

have taken root and camaraderie, collaboration, support and

mutual success have blossomed as a result.

It’s easy to list each subdivision of the brand, starting from

the beginning with the ranchers who established it more than

40 years ago. But these groups of people are connected in

more ways than one.

With a welcoming gesture, they grab a chair and take a seat at

the brand table—sandwiched between a meat scientist and a

grocer, clinking glasses with the chef across the way. The table

has definitely grown to fit all those who join, but it hasn’t

really changed.

The people surrounding it still bow their heads before they

eat, praying for their family and community. They hope

for rain or increased market prices or sales, however they

measure success. They do their life’s work with honor and

focus. They still thrive in the others’ presence, sharing ideas

and support. When they hear the call, they’re quick to extend

a helping hand. And, they’re always ready to pull up a chair

for someone new.

They do this because the Certified Angus Beef ® brand is more

than a name or a logo. It’s a family with a mission to engage

and serve with passion and integrity. These stories are just a

few examples.

PAST THE BARN DOORS

At The Culinary Center, in meat labs across the country,

and in conference rooms in buildings of all shapes and sizes

one group you’ll find is independent meat company leaders

and salespersons enjoying the company of their peers and

discussing how they can help increase sales, which in turn

drives demand for the beef ranchers produce.

They are just as passionate about helping one another as they

are about filling plates with top-quality steaks, roasts and

burgers. That’s why they take every opportunity available to

work together for a cause much greater than themselves.

The camaraderie among this group was evident in 2017, when

a group of 16 companies pooled funds to donate $65,000 to

a relief fund for ranchers in Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma and

Colorado who lost farms and livestock in devastating prairie

fires. It’s just one example of how the group is invested in

others’ success, from the farm to the streets.

Duncan Macgregor Jr., president of Macgregor’s Meat

and Seafood in Toronto, credits the group for its help as

the 70-year-old company worked to re-establish a dryaging

program.

“We hadn’t dry-aged since the late ’50s, and I think my

father probably thought we were a little bit nuts going back

to it,” Macgregor said, adding he believed the time was

right. It would both elevate and differentiate the business

in today’s market.

“We reached out to other independents in the Certified Angus Beef ®

brand community, and I’m very thankful we had some tremendous

help from some of those partners within the brand. We couldn’t

have gotten to where we are today, even though it’s on a small

scale, without their help,” Macgregor noted.

Each independent’s business, opportunities and challenges

may be unique, but the goodwill makes their similarities

much more relevant. Whether it’s programs at The Culinary

Center or the annual independents’ gathering hosted by

one of the group’s members, it’s an opportunity to learn

and share ideas.

You may also find them on a ranch, sliding feed through

their hands for the first time, taking selfies with a

nearby heifer or shaking hands with the young cowboy

who hopes to be just like his dad when he grows up.

Their interest in the industry goes far beyond their office

walls, and that, in turn, helps link the pieces and parts

of beef’s journey together.

ON THE PLATE

Within the culinary world, there’s a particular group that’s

truly a society unto itself. Members of the fun-loving barbecue

community spend a lot of time filling smokers and slicing big

hunks of beef. While it draws from all walks of culinary life—

from classically trained chefs to award-winning competitors

to self-taught fans who’ve pulled up their own seat at the

table—its shared passion for low-and-slow-cooked ’cue holds

the collection together.

“The barbecue community has a ‘no secrets, we’re all in this

together’ mindset,” says Michael Ollier, senior corporate chef

for the Certified Angus Beef ® brand and certified barbecue

judge. “These folks make you feel welcome no matter where

you come from in the barbecue circuit. The genuine nature of

these folks is right in line with our brand.”

The community’s welcoming nature shone bright during the brand’s

BBQ Summit, which gathers many of the nation’s best pitmasters

in Wooster, Ohio, for a few days of collaboration, fabrication and

education—plus plenty of fun and great eats, of course.

The barbecue community also comes together for initiatives

like Operation BBQ Relief. The relief fund started after the

2011 Joplin, Mo., tornado and remains dedicated to providing

meals to emergency personnel and those displaced during

times of natural disasters. It’s backed by a large number of


There’s plenty of room at the brand’s table, which welcomes and connects all from gate to plate who pull up a seat.

A SEAT AT THE TABLE

2019 Brand Update 13


volunteers, most of whom are military veterans or retired first

responders who share a love of barbecue.

The organization’s efforts have found a soft spot in Ollier’s

heart, as he continues to engage the brand in the effort at a

higher level.

“The volunteers respond to such disasters because they can

roll in onsite with a pit and cook for people without electricity,”

he says. “It’s become more formalized over the years, and

served more than 3 million meals across the country.”

Most recently, volunteers have traveled outside of the U.S.

borders to feed those in the Bahamas who were harmed or

displaced by Hurricane Dorian.

In addition to these meals at disaster sites (aka deployments),

Operation BBQ Relief began The Always Serving Project, an

extension of the original fund that serves military members

and first responders and fights hunger; the Breaking Bread

Tour, to bring awareness to hunger across the country; and

BBQ Basics, where attendees learn how to barbecue.

The barbecue crew’s efforts are proof of what good can come

from joining forces with others, even if they prefer to smoke

meat with a different type of wood or use sauces instead

of rubs. It’s something many notice while attending some

of the best barbecue festivals, like the Jack Daniel’s World

Championship Barbecue Invitational or Memphis in May,

where they seek connection and camaraderie.

It’s the spirit that’s evident from one end of the table to the other.

Craig “The BBQ

Ninja” Verhage, at the

Jack Daniel’s World

Championship Invitational

Barbecue, is one of many

passionate meatheads in

the community.

The team from Macgregors Meat and Seafood of Toronto has built relationships with, and

engaged, their fellow licensed independent meat companies to share ideas that build their business.


Certified Angus Beef ® brand Senior Corporate Chef Michael Ollier, second from left,

hosts Operation BBQ Relief leaders at The Culinary Center: from left, Nick Woolfolk,

Will Cleaver, and Sonny’s BBQ pitmaster Bryan Mroczka.

A SEAT AT THE TABLE

2019 Brand Update 15


Above and below left, Sysco staffers visit the farm to learn more about the

beef cattle story, an opportunity facilitated by brand specialists.

Brand specialists frequently bring their team and chef customers to the Meat Lab at The

Culinary Center for hands-on meat science education and fabrication sessions.

A highlight of the annual Foodservice Leaders Summit is the announcement of the Specialist of the Year, as well as a gathering of those in attendance who

have earned the title in the past. The honor recognizes a specialist who goes above and beyond in engaging and educating their team about the brand.


WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS …

OF THE BRAND

Specialists share their knowledge and passion for premium beef

Since those days as a line cook making his way up the restaurant ranks, Josh Ennis has loved the Certified

Angus Beef ® brand. Part of it was the quality reputation, of course. But since becoming a brand specialist

at Buckhead Meat Atlanta, he’s come to love it for the people behind it, especially the collection of other

specialists he gets to work with regularly.

“We function as a single unit, as a team, and that’s my favorite thing about working with the brand,”

Ennis shares. “It’s not just one man on the island—we’re all here to help one another.”

Ennis is one of 166 specialists in foodservice who take the time to learn about the brand and truly

understand every aspect. They play an integral role in the entire brand community’s success and are a

critical link in the chain.

“Specialists are our eyes and ears in the market, whether near or far. They are the reason we are able to gain so

much knowledge,” explains Gebran Charbine, the brand’s director of international and ethnic marketing. “Our

job isn’t just to raise demand for high-quality cattle. Our job is to empower these specialists.”

Through extensive training, regular communication with the brand’s team and thorough, ongoing

engagement, each specialist acts as a champion of the brand in their business. In turn, they help educate

and motivate their companies’ sales teams when engaging with restaurateur and chef customers and

explaining the brand’s benefits.

To do that, specialists create their own programs. Ennis, for example, invites customers to Buckhead’s cut

shop and hosts capsulized Master of Brand Advantages (MBA) training for new hires—all to teach both

groups about the very best Angus beef.

Beyond the focus on product quality and sales, specialists’ efforts promote the brand’s values, community

and relationship building, too. This year, in the same spirit of the community celebrations that took place

at the 40 barn paintings last year, Buckhead Atlanta hosted a celebration like a county fair when the

Certified Angus Beef ® brand logo was painted on its warehouse. Other events planned by specialists that

both engage the team and help educate them about the brand include food shows, themed customer

dinners, meat labs and ranch days.

So important is the specialist role, two of them are recognized annually for their dedication and focus

at the brand’s Foodservice Leaders Summit. The awards, New Performer of the Year and Specialist of

the Year, are symbols of the goals accomplished and sales increased—thanks to the group’s passion for

moving beef along its gate-to-plate journey.

“The specialist role is a big deal,” says Tom Propps, president of Sysco Columbia in South Carolina, proud

coworker of Adam Ballard, the 2019 New Performer of the Year.

Ballard, like all who are eligible for the award, has been a brand specialist less than two years, but managed

to make quite an impact in that short amount of time.

“Adam loves the Certified Angus Beef ® brand. He loves working with premium proteins and, most of all, he

loves working with our customers,” affirms Kris Davis, Sysco Columbia’s director of business resources.

“He’s dedicated to asking, ‘if you aren’t buying a Certified Angus Beef ® brand product, why aren’t you?’”

Neil Johnson of Sysco Montana, the 2019 Specialist of the Year, was recognized in part for his thoughtful

initiatives to keep his team and customers engaged.

2019 Brand Update 17


“His passion exudes out, and it doesn’t just affect himself. His

customers and sales team see his passion, and it makes him

very enjoyable to work with,” says Gale Rhoads, the brand’s

executive account manager in the region.

In addition to training their sales teams to sell more

Certified Angus Beef ® brand product, specialists ensure their

customers—from restaurants to universities and nursing

homes—properly represent the brand. Protecting the

brand and its well-known trademarks is important for not

only the brand’s reputation, but also sales opportunities.

Specialists and their teams play a vital role, as a task force

focused on securing the brand’s reputation.

Each distributor is charged with goals that include collecting

menus, to ensure the brand trademarks are used correctly

and appropriately, and for working to resolve discrepancies.

The teams keep track of their issues and progress on the Sales

Tool app, and work closely with the brand’s staff.

Internationally, brand assurance tasks can be a bigger

challenge for specialists, as it is taboo in some cultures to

question a business about its practices, including asking a

chef about his menu. They also may need to deal with unique

consumer objections, extra costs from tariffs, shipping and

travel prices, cultural differences, a multitude of beef options

and time differences.

“We’re always working to improve our contacts with

international specialists to understand what we can do to

benefit their business and what drives their success,” says

Geof Bednar, the brand’s vice president, international.

Charbine agrees. While it may not always be easy, he says, it’s

necessary to reach out to beef leaders, to train them and their

teams, and to support them in every way feasible.

Top international specialists Samuel Huan with Shuh Sen Co.,

Taiwan, and Efrain Ramirez with Atlantic FS SAS, Colombia,

stand out as key global ambassadors. Others from Triple J

Five Star Wholesale Foods, Guam, and INPELSA, Peru, make

the list of focused, motivated champions, too.

Specialists like Huan and Ramirez take pains to ensure the

brand’s name is the first to come out of their mouths when

speaking with customers, and that the brand’s logo is the

first one seen in their warehouses. They also host weekly sales

meetings that include brand training, complete with how to

properly use the name and trademarks, as well as extravagant

customer events.

For Huan, who’s been with Shuh Sen for 23 years, the Certified

Angus Beef ® brand offers the opportunity to take a “no pain,

no gain” approach to selling beef.

“It has spirit, action, integrity and attitude,” he says. “I’ve

visited the brand’s headquarters several times, and I’m always

ready to work harder when I get back home.”

Huan isn’t alone in his increased excitement for the brand.

This elite collection of passionate, goal-driven, beefloving

sales leaders continues to grow and demonstrate

long-term, big-picture commitment in every sector of the

foodservice business.

Hands-on butchery and education are part of the experience chef guests receive at The Culinary Center.


Jorge Medina of Sysco South Florida prepares beef

for a dish at The Culinary Center during a Latin

America Associate’s in Meat program. Brand

specialists regularly assess opportunities for their

teammates and their customers to participate in

learning opportunities tailored to their needs.

WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS...OF THE BRAND

2019 Brand Update 19


Brett Sawyer, chef and owner at The Plum

and Good Company in Cleveland, didn’t

think he could put beef on his menu, until

a visit to The Culinary Center helped him

discover creative and profitable options.

A short rib “tomahawk,” prepared osso buco style

Drawing inspiration from the more common pork

porchetta, chefs created a beef version – beefchetta

– at a Culinary Center ideation session.

Chef Tony Biggs, the brand’s director of culinary arts, shows off a

rib bone etched by Greg Gaardbo of Chicago Culinary Kitchen.


NNOVATION

IADDS VALUE

Embracing opportunities leads to creativity and greater returns

Step into The Plum, a hip restaurant serving creative fare on Cleveland’s west side, and you’re likely to see

at least a couple of beef items on the menu, among the seasonal options that change weekly (or more

often). But that wasn’t part of the original vision.

“My partners and I wanted to open a restaurant our chef friends could come to more regularly,” owner

and chef Brett Sawyer explains. “So we wanted to make sure things were affordable, but prepared at the

level of the higher-end places that maybe you couldn’t afford to go to all the time.”

Big-ticket, popular steaks like porterhouses or filet mignons are pricey—and they don’t always offer the

opportunity for creativity Sawyer craves. At the same time, product quality, whether you’re talking beef or

beets, is non-negotiable.

The equation just didn’t seem to balance in favor of beef. However, that all changed when the Plum team

was introduced to some alternatives at the Certified Angus Beef ® Culinary Center. There, Sawyer took to

the Meat Lab and proceeded to break down subprimals in new ways, exploring and sampling different

options that would work for their ever-changing menu.

“There are all these other beef cuts out there that are being underutilized, that you can get good value for

your restaurant, and therefore good value for your customers, and everybody wins,” he explains.

The result: dishes like The Plum’s beef belly, which comes as close to anything the restaurant will ever have

to a menu mainstay. It has appeared on the menu in multiple hyper-seasonal iterations, served with a fresh

berry and Worcestershire sauce in the summer, or with potato puree and red eye gravy in the winter, or

cured like pastrami with a horseradish cream sauce.

As the name implies, beef belly is akin to the more common pork belly. Both feature rich ribbons of

unctuous fat in between the umami-rich meat. But the beef belly, or navel, is something “people don’t

really understand, or know,” says Sawyer. “You don’t just go to the grocery store and buy beef navel.

That’s why we want to be the ones to introduce them to it.”

“We wouldn’t ever have used navel if it weren’t for them showing it to us at The Culinary Center,” Sawyer

recalls. “What we learn in the Meat Lab, we apply it regularly here. I don’t think we’re ever without a

Certified Angus Beef ® brand item on the menu now.”

Today, Sawyer and his team are also using a unique and proprietary blend of beef cuts developed and tested

at The Culinary Center for the signature dish, the Good Boi burger, at his second restaurant, Good Company.

“The relationship we’ve developed with the Certified Angus Beef ® brand is really what makes dishes like

these possible,” Sawyer says. “They work directly with us to find unique ideas that work for us. We’re

always looking for something new, and the relationship we’ve built has been essential to that creativity.”

2019 Brand Update 21


DISCOVERING APPLICATIONS

AND DRIVING SALES

While restaurateurs like Sawyer benefit from the affordability

and are inspired by the potential for lesser-known cuts, they

just as importantly bring real value back to farmers and

ranchers. Higher utilization of the entire carcass—not just the

relatively few pounds of middle meats that have traditionally

been prized—increases profitability and sustainability for

cattle operations, too.

It’s a movement that is taking root not just among chefs, but

increasingly across the entire brand community. Since day

one, retailers have been the primary driver of end meats, like

chuck pot roasts, London broil or top rounds. But now, the

brand’s team is helping expose Culinary Center guests, often

from the foodservice world, to the potential of these flavorful

options that may just need a little extra love.

It starts with ideation among the center’s culinary team.

Each year, they take a few days away from their normal daily

responsibilities to literally play around in the kitchen. Each

chef cooks simply for the sake of being creative, trying new

things and sharing ideas, says Deanna Walenciak, the brand’s

director of education.

In December 2017, Walenciak challenged the team with a

straightforward request: “Make us love the round.”

“We wanted to get out of that mentality that most people

just grind it anyway,” she explains. “The general feeling in the

culinary world is that it’s a tougher and less flavorful cut.”

The chefs rose to the challenge, trying new cooking techniques

and flavor combinations. They came up with a series of dishes

that moved the general feeling from “meh, the round…” to

“wow, that’s the round?”

Armed with those positive insights, the team started to talk

about the round more with Culinary Center visitors. They

also featured the round at the Foodservice Leaders Summit

a few months later, talking about product availability,

opportunities, sales tips and of course, those menu ideas.

“The chefs threw some fuel on what we were starting to

kindle,” says Walenciak. “That’s how we can help move the

needle: we heighten awareness.”

And move the needle it did. From Fiscal 2017 to 2018, sales

of the round jumped nearly 12%, second only to the brisket.

Each time a less popular item moves up in popularity, that’s a

positive signal that gets carried all the way back to the ranch.

Last year’s culinary innovation days put the top sirloin and

the short rib in the spotlight. In fact, the short rib was the

brand’s No. 1 growth item for 2019, increasing by 12% or 5

million pounds. Sales of the top sirloin cap, or coulotte, grew

by 36% (1.3 million pounds), primarily among foodservice

customers. Many factors influence sales, but it’s clear the

intentional focus makes an impact.

DELIVERING FLAVOR AND QUALITY WHILE

SOLVING KITCHEN CHALLENGES

Of course, not every kitchen is equipped to give these lesserknown

cuts the time and attention they need to perform

on the plate. Labor is, for many restaurateurs, their biggest

challenge in today’s market: finding it, training it, retaining

it—and affording it. Time is quite literally money, and striking

the right balance without sacrificing quality, guest satisfaction

and reputation can be a delicate balance.

One solution: Value-added Certified Angus Beef ® brand

products. Since 1985, an ever-increasing number of items

crafted by skilled processors offer pre-cooked, pre-marinated,

portioned or frozen options that deliver the brand’s proven

consistent quality while solving back-of-the-house challenges.

And while these products meet the needs of those who

purchase them, they offer processors the opportunity to

innovate and find creative inspiration, too.

“Flavor is what I do best,” says Daniel Vargas, executive

corporate chef for Golden West Food Group. “That’s my

favorite part, creating recipes, knowing that someone is going

to be eating them.”

Working with the brand offers him the consistency that’s

necessary for recipe development on a large scale, he notes.

“I go through hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds on a

weekly basis. It’s always very uniform; it follows a tight spec,”

Vargas says. “The products always taste the same and you

have to have that.”

Visiting The Culinary Center offered the Golden West team

opportunities to learn more about the brand, experiment

with different cuts and flavor profiles and ultimately settle on

products that perform, cost effectively. Today, the processor

offers 30 options, primarily to retail customers, ranging from

marinated tri-tips to uncured beef brisket and fresh patties

co-branded with Wahlburgers. The team is also behind the

Beeftisserie ® , which offers retailers a beef option in preparedfoods

sections to compete with the omnipresent grab-and-go

rotisserie chickens.

“We have many products that go well beyond basic cuts of

meat, and we’ve really prided ourselves on innovation,” says

Tony Cimolino, Golden West Food Group’s chief marketing

officer. “We don’t make value products, we make premium

products, and we’re constantly trying to look for new ways

to take the brand to the consumers in ways you may not have

thought of before.”


GLOBAL FOOD CULTURE FUELS

EXPERIMENTATION

Sometimes finding the right audience is the last piece of the

utilization puzzle to click into place. Different cultures have

traditionally enjoyed different types of cuts, a fact that’s

driven the beef export business for decades.

Recently, that momentum has been building, as more types

of consumers both domestically and globally are exposed to

different types of beef cuts and dishes—and a realization that

there are a lot of delicious cuts and applications they may not

have known or appreciated before. Plus, consumers and chefs

alike are increasingly drawn to a “nose to tail” approach to

cuisine: respecting the animal, and the effort and resources

that go into raising it, by consuming more of it.

Food culture has been a large driver of these changes. For

example, it has helped open domestic beef lovers’ eyes

to new ideas, often started in other cultures. While short

ribs in U.S. kitchens are often braised, a new generation of

American cooks are grilling thin-sliced, flanken-cut short

ribs—a style popularized by Koreans. Similarly, dishes that

were once considered less common in the U.S. have become

mainstream. While some American households will always

make tacos with ground beef, an increasing number look

for skirt steak or flap meat—common in Mexico and Latin

America—to grill and chop instead.

The influence of global food culture is a reality in other

markets, too. One example is Japan, where demand for highquality

beef has grown from the upscale, white-tablecloth

market to now include the middle class, with options like

rice bowls and bento boxes: a reality that’s reflected in the

more diverse base of licensed Certified Angus Beef ® brand

restaurant partners in the market.

As demographic and cultural shifts across the globe have

brought these influences into the mainstream, it’s providing

opportunities for more cuts across the carcass to become

more appreciated, more in demand—and more profitable for

those selling, producing and raising them.

Tostones with shredded beef

INNOVATION ADDS VALUE

2019 Brand Update 23


During their annual Ideation

Days, the brand’s team of chefs

experiment, collaborate and

create with no agenda other

than to explore new ideas and

ways to prepare beef.

2019 Brand Update 25


Availability, and sales, of the brand’s Prime product reached

historic heights in 2019, thanks to the efforts of qualityminded

ranchers raising cattle that meet the target.

Dry-aging is another artisanal technique brand

partners employ to further elevate the highest

quality product and distinguish their offerings.

Most of the growth

in Certified Angus

Beef ® brand Prime

sales came from retail

partners, though the

exclusive product

remained a mainstay

in steakhouses and

white tablecloth

restaurants.


TRADING UP

Increasing beef quality and historic availability of Prime propel partners’ success

ShopRite, the large Northeastern grocery co-op, has “always been a Choice house,” according to Roger

Savoia, vice president of meat for its parent company, Wakefern.

For many years, stores also offered the Certified Angus Beef ® brand as their top-tier beef option.

“Our philosophy here is when we put a Choice item on sale, we always put the Certified Angus Beef ® brand

on sale, too,” Savoia explains. This “shadow marketing” has served the retailer well, even through the

2008 Recession and recovery.

“We thought then that sales of the brand might dwindle, or go away; however, it became stronger. The

folks who bought it continued to buy it,” he says.

Through the decade to follow, the beef marketplace kept evolving. More familiar with the better eating

experience premium beef delivered, consumers continued to demand it, sending clear economic signals

back to the ranch. Farmers were incentivized to choose the best genetics and commit to the best

management practices that result in better beef.

It was a movement that not only ensured a growing supply of highly marbled product for the Certified

Angus Beef ® brand’s traditional line, but—like the rising tide that lifts all boats—elevated the quality of

beef across the industry. The supply of Select beef dropped 40% from 2010 also to 2018; in 2018, sales

of Certified Angus Beef ® brand product eclipsed the supply of Select beef. Meanwhile, the amount of Prime

grew significantly from 2010-18.

Indeed, the supply of Prime product, both commodity and Certified Angus Beef ® brand Prime, has never

been higher than it was in the past year. Yet before 2015, it seemed most in the beef business assumed

Prime beef was largely the provenance of steakhouses and other high-end restaurants. A little Prime

product trickled into retail channels—one example is Oklahoma-based Reasor’s, which started offering it

years ago—but not much.

That was expected, even appropriate, perhaps, when Prime hovered at around 2 to 3% of the market, as

it had for years. But as the rate of cattle grading Prime drew higher than 8%, brand partners, particularly

retailers like ShopRite, started taking note.

“We said, ‘let’s give our customers an even better eating experience. Let’s take them up a step to Certified

Angus Beef ® brand Prime,’” recalls John Balog, ShopRite’s beef category manager. “They’ve seen it in

restaurants; they know what it is. Now it’s their chance to buy it at a supermarket.”

But the question remained: if you build it, will they come?

ShopRite started with a test in a few stores to see if they could get consumers to upgrade. It was soon

apparent that high-end shoppers and younger generations like the Millennials appreciated being able to

find a steakhouse-quality steak in the meat department.

“What we’re tracking is that customers are buying Certified Angus Beef ® Prime, and those customers are the

shoppers of the future,” says Savoia.

Better yet, Prime didn’t cut into sales of ShopRite’s other beef options, including traditional Certified

Angus Beef ® brand product, as some had feared it might. In fact, the chain grew category sales by a few

percentage points, according to Mark Salerno, the stores’ meat merchandising and operations supervisor.

“It exceeded my expectations,” he says, noting a lot of excitement both at store level and among the

retailer’s leadership. They’ve supported promotions, contests and advertising.

“We want to show that we sell the best beef, not just any beef, and we’re really proud of that,” he says.

2019 Brand Update 27


INTRODUCING SHOPPERS TO THE VERY

BEST BEEF

That pride, and the ability to reach consumers willing to

trade up, are shared by others who have introduced—and

embraced—the highest quality product.

“The evolution of the Certified Angus Beef ® brand in our stores

has really brought us to the next level,” says Steve Holloway,

director of meat and seafood operations for Food City stores.

Not only did the longtime brand partner introduce a full line

of Certified Angus Beef ® brand Prime this year, but it also scaled

back on the Select beef it offered price-conscious shoppers.

“We really put the emphasis on upgrading our customers,

expanding the brand presence in our stores. Giving customers

another option to upgrade their purchase and have a great

eating experience has been a really big differential for us,”

Holloway explains. “Consumer response has been fantastic.

The interaction with our customers has been super, and

I think they understand what they’re purchasing and the

difference in the product.”

Troy Schuelke, the meat and seafood director of operations

for Trig’s, a small Wisconsin-based retailer that introduced

the brand’s Prime selections in its stores, concurs.

“We’ve gotten some great feedback on that. Our customers

have noticed, and they’re coming back,” he says. “The brand

is the cornerstone of our meat department. It’s the highest

quality we can put in our case, and every other [protein]

program we put in our case needs to be that quality.”

In fact, the trend toward Prime has been pronounced.

Many retail partners—some new, some not—have added

the highest quality label to their repertoire in the past year,

including Schnucks, Nam Dae Mun and Amigos Foods. It’s

a big step for an area of the business that’s normally in

the shadows of the top dogs in the foodservice business,

but like the beef itself, times are changing. In fact, in 2019

retailers sold more Certified Angus Beef ® brand Prime than

their foodservice counterparts.

Gelson’s prides itself on being the only multi-store grocery

chain in Southern California that’s licensed to carry and

promote Certified Angus Beef ® brand Prime product.

“I’ve been in this meat business for over 35 years, and I know

good beef when I see it and when I cut it and when I eat it,”

says Sean Saenz, Gelson’s senior director of meat and seafood

operations. “Anyone can sell a customer a good steak once,

but part of our job is to sell that customer a great eating

experience every time.”

PRIME MENU OPTIONS APPEAL TO

STEAKHOUSE PATRONS

A great eating experience is exactly what Prime steaks, roasts,

grinds and more provide. It’s what those 10 science-based

standards ensure. And it’s what every customer, whether

they’re slicing into a roast at home or watching waiters deliver

a sizzling steak on a white china plate, craves.

Indeed, while much of the growth in Prime sales was claimed

by the retail sector, foodservice businesses, particularly when it

comes to steakhouses, remained as enthusiastic as ever about

the premium product.

Cody Jones, the brand’s director of foodservice meat specialty,

calls this time of high demand for Prime product “The Golden

Age of Beef Quality.”

“In this new era of high-quality beef, it is clear that those who focus

on quality will continue to be successful while those who focus on

price and cut corners will continue to be left behind,” he asserts.

Foodservice distributors, such as PFG, Del Monte Meat and

Sysco Lincoln, have taken their passion for providing the besttasting

beef available in any market to new levels. That passion

shines through in their initiatives, as they hosted Prime-focused

fabrication demonstrations, customer dinners, chef playdates

and more. Del Monte Meat even created a coffee mug with the

brand’s Prime logo etched on it—a gift sure to be the envy of

all customers.

And for chefs and restaurateurs, Prime continues to make

good business sense, enhancing their reputation for consistent

quality and an excellent eating experience, ensuring return

business in an increasingly fickle climate.

One example is Stark’s Steak and Seafood in Santa Rosa,

Calif., which offers both traditional and Prime brand cuts.

Some of that Prime product is taken to the next level through

a signature aging protocol: wet aged, then dry aged in-house.

“It spends about 59 days to get to the plate,” says executive

chef de cuisine David Zimmerman. “It’s important that

customers know we don’t take shortcuts.

“We want someone walking into the restaurant for the first

time to feel welcome, and to feel that classic steakhouse feel,

with the dark wood and leather chairs,” he explains. “They

need to know that the quality of the restaurant is going to

represent the quality of the meat they’re going to order. We

need to have control of the product, and to start with the very

best, very consistent, very executable product to do that.”

John Pickerel, owner of the Buckhorn Steakhouse in

Winters, Calif., agrees that consistent quality is key. He’s

had Certified Angus Beef ® brand Prime sirloins in his product

mix for the past 20 years.

“Our philosophy is: nothing matters except the guest returns.

We’re always working on the return visit,” Pickerel explains.

“The speed of change in the restaurant business has never

been so quick. We have to remain relevant to our customers

and to remain of value.”


It’s probably not a surprise that a restaurant

named Prime Cincinnati has built its business

on the very best steaks available. Indeed, the

restaurant recognized as the brand’s 2019

Steakhouse of the Year knows it must make

the best impression on customers.

“When you have somebody come into a

restaurant like ours, they’re often coming to

celebrate special occasions, and we need to

understand that we’re going to be part of that

memory,” explains managing partner Nelson

Castillo. “We’re going to be part of that

birthday, or that 25th or 50th anniversary,

so we have to be perfect. They come together

as a family with friends to share that special

night, and they share it with us. So we have to

deliver the Prime experience.”

Executive Chef Shawn Heine agrees they have a

responsibility “to bring everything we can to the

table.” That includes not just the finest steaks,

and seafood of equal quality, but raising the

bar with an in-house dry-age program. Even the

restaurant’s burger, introduced as an option at

lunch, ups the ante. Because the restaurant cuts

its own steaks, there’s plenty of Prime trim to

use. And based on the success of that original

burger, Heine introduced a new burger, crafted

from whole chuck clod that’s dry-aged before

being trimmed and ground.

“We want to make everyone’s meal the best

possible meal they could ever have,” explains

Heine. Exceeding guests’ expectations is the

goal, achieved by elevating their standards.

Certified Angus Beef ® brand Prime burger

TRADING UP

2019 Brand Update 29


Certified Angus Beef ® brand Prime ribeye steaks

2019 Brand Update 31


Kent Black, third-generation pitmaster of Black’s

BBQ, Lockhart, Texas, snaps a shot of the

Atterholt family’s barn in Jeromesville, Ohio.

A group of

renowned pitmasters

eagerly awaits their

advanced butchery

program at The

Culinary Center.

Meat Speak is a new podcast geared to meat lovers. Hosts Tony Biggs, left, and

Bryan Schaaf, right, interview Kylee Phillips, University of Florida, and Chandler

Steele, Texas A&M University, two recipients of the Colvin Scholarship.

A chef at Le Blanc Spa Resorts ®

Los Cabos prepares skirt steak

for a culinary Beach BBQ event.

The brand’s new Steakholder Rewards program offers consumers the chance to earn points for

purchasing and engaging with the brand, then redeem them for personalized experiences.


I

T’S PERSONAL

Engaging loyalists requires more than mere marketing

A superior product, based on a set of rigorous standards, has always been the Certified Angus Beef ® brand’s

calling card. Indeed, the brand name is synonymous with quality among consumers and brand partners alike.

That’s no accident, of course. But especially in an era where beef quality has trended ever higher

across the entire industry, it’s not the only thing that sets the brand apart in 2019.

Most people who are familiar with and loyal to the brand in some way would agree they have a

relationship with it that goes beyond the product itself. Perhaps they feel a connection to the brand’s

grassroots heritage and the perseverance and care demonstrated by the ranching community behind

it. Maybe they know that their family always enjoys burger night a little bit more when they start with

the ground beef with that black, burgundy and gold sticker. Or it could be a salesperson who walks

into a product cutting with a restaurateur, feeling a little more confident when he’s wearing a shirt

bearing that same distinctive logo.

It’s a chef who’s inspired to try something new on her menu after kicking around some ideas at The

Culinary Center. It’s a farmer who heard an interview with an expert offering another way to think

about cattle management. It’s a mom browsing Facebook while she waits at soccer practice and

watches a video showing how to pick the perfect roast.

It’s all about being relevant to the many different types of people who feel an affinity with the brand,

and fostering that engagement in new ways. It’s about strengthening those relationships in ways that

elevate the brand’s equity and return on its mission, driving business back to brand partners.

2019 Brand Update 33


REWARDING AND ENGAGING

STEAKHOLDERS

One such initiative is a new consumer loyalty program,

Steakholder Rewards. It’s designed to offer consumers

the opportunity to be rewarded for engaging with

the brand and purchasing product. After registering,

consumers will receive timely tips, recipes and updates in

regular newsletters. Members can earn points by buying

the brand or interacting with it in some way: watching a

video, sharing a social post or downloading a recipe, for

example. Custom promotions and individualized reward

packages will offer a thank-you to the most loyal fans:

everything from branded merchandise to the opportunity

to participate in a one-of-a-kind culinary experience.

From Instagram to LinkedIn to Facebook and more,

social networks offer brand fans the opportunity to not

only engage with the brand and its partners, but also

connect with one another to share ideas. One of those is

the Certified Angus Beef ® Kitchen: a Facebook group and

virtual hangout for beef lovers of all stripes who ask for

dinner ideas, share pictures of their latest beefy creations

or simply post their sightings of the brand’s logo. Similarly,

private groups for chefs connect professionals.

THE MEAT OF THE MATTER

Whether one is a chef, pitmaster or self-proclaimed

“meathead,” a new podcast from the brand—“Meat Speak”—

speaks their love language. Episodes are hosted by the brand’s

Director of Culinary Arts Chef Tony Biggs and his intrepid

sidekick, chef liaison Bryan Schaaf. Together, they take a deep

dive into topics that reflect the expertise and interests of their

star-studded lineup of guests from across the culinary world.

And while one might expect the primary topic to be beef,

Schaaf and Biggs want listeners to appreciate that many

meaty subjects—including meat science and culinary trends—

are fair game. Rather than serve as an extended commercial

for the brand, the goal is to foster genuine engagement

among listeners.

The landscape and timing was right for a podcast, said

Tracey Erickson, the brand’s executive vice president of

marketing. While podcasting is increasingly popular—

according to a recent New York Times article, it now

reaches 50% of all Americans—there was a vacuum for this

particular type of content.

“People are listening to podcasts wherever they used to listen

to the radio,” she says. “It’s an ideal opportunity to reach

people with our unique brand message and bring those

conversations to a wider community.”

CULTURAL RELEVANCE

As a global brand, “community” can look very different from

one situation to the next. While brand loyalists around the

world share appreciation for the brand and feel a connection

to it, it sometimes requires a more intentional approach to

understand each individual culture and maintain relevance.

“How do you visit a market with a different language and

culture, just a couple times a year and help it succeed?” That’s

the question Gebran Charbine, the brand’s vice president of

international and ethnic marketing, asks himself upon each

return from an overseas trip. Years ago, the answer was

simple: translate English, pieces into different languages.

Problem solved, right? Not quite. A quick translation may

get the general message across, but it doesn’t help form a

bond between the brand and those who sell and purchase

it. In addition, nuances can be missed, from Japan or South

Korea, to the Middle East, French Canada, the Caribbean,

South America and beyond.

The true key is to provide global partners with resources not

only in their native language, but also relevant to the culture.

For Ana Luisa Verba, director of international marketing for

Latin America, it’s a passion. Anyone who has seen her lively,

heartfelt presentations understands why: it’s the culture she

grew up in and now shares with beef industry leaders. Each

Latin-focused piece, from social media posts to sell sheets, sports

vibrant colors and enticing Spanish language to grab consumers

and put the brand in a culturally relevant context.

“To be effective, it’s important to ‘trans-create’ rather than

simply translate,” Verba explained.

While the Latin American population is the largest ethnic

segment in the U.S., the Asian American population is the fastest

growing, according to the latest census data, and Executive

Account Manager Heidi Schroeder explains that provides a

big opportunity for distributors, retailers and restaurateurs to

bring ethnic cuisine trends to their markets: not just from a

culinary perspective, but from the sales side, too.

“Global is local” is the tagline she shares during meetings with

foodservice and retail salespersons. It conveys the idea that

U.S. consumers don’t have to travel to Asia, or even major

cities, to enjoy traditional and authentic foods from other

cultures. A few examples: high-end restaurants, like Bistro

Na’s in Los Angeles, and grocery stores like Nam Dae Mun

Farmers Market, a Korean retailer in Atlanta.

One potential challenge: those working at an ethnic

restaurant or store may not be a part of that culture. For

example, Nam Dae Mun’s meat department is run mostly

by native Spanish speakers who require Spanish training

materials and resources.

While bridging cultures may take some effort, a little intention

goes a long way.

“It’s simple: we genuinely listen,” said Verba. “We care for

their success, their market. We are committed to providing

support, guidance, innovation, leadership. And we love

what we do.”


Resources such as photos and recipes are created in and for markets like Japan, to ensure

marketing materials are culturally relevant to global markets and consumers.

IT’S PERSONAL

2019 Brand Update 35


Guests at a “Steakhouse Feels” event mingle and enjoy chef-created

bites at the renowned Pebble Beach Food & Wine festival.

Chef and author Elizabeth Karmel celebrated the launch of her

best-selling book, “Steak and Cake,” which features her two

favorite dishes and highlights the brand.

A group of influencers and food bloggers visits the lauded Larder Deli in Cleveland,

where Chef Jeremy Umansky takes an inventive new approach to pastrami.

Tony Biggs, the brand’s director of culinary arts, is interviewed by the Today Show’s Al Roker at

the Cayman Cookout, which attracts the world’s best chefs and most passionate foodies.


S

HARING THE

BRAND’S STORIES

It’s all about building relationships with media and influencers

“Illuminating and inspiring.”

That’s how Kat Martin, a writer for Winsight Grocery Business, characterized her in-person introduction to

the Certified Angus Beef ® community.

Martin attended the brand’s 2019 Annual Conference, where she had the opportunity to meet and

interact with people from gate to plate, including farmers and ranchers, processors, sales leaders, chefs

and—of course—retail partners. Her biggest takeaway: a wish that more consumers could experience it.

“By that, I’m referring to the abundance of love and care demonstrated by the full circle of partners who

play a part,” she wrote. “It’s a story that can be easily overlooked.”

“I’ve had limited experience on the front lines of immersing myself in the journey of what it takes to

bring a product to stores in the first place … Learning more about the first steps in the process are vitally

important, and it’s a story that retailers should be proud to share.”

2019 Brand Update 37


BUILDING CREDIBILITY

The feeling is familiar to those already active in the brand

community, but Martin’s message is especially impactful and

influential, because she’s knowledgeable yet unbiased.

Third-party credibility—whether from journalists like Martin,

renowned chefs, popular social media influencers or down-toearth

agriculturalists—means the brand engages in conversations

about every segment of the beef business. These partners in

communication influence what people choose to purchase and

eat. Their words pop up online, in printed publications and on

social platforms; basically anywhere and everywhere.

Their reach means there’s great value in connecting with

media and influencers, particularly because the brand and its

diverse network of partners have such a powerful, authentic

story to share.

“It’s a story that’s worthy of being told, and one that might

help potentially boost overall beef sales, because consumers

want to feel good about the food they are buying to feed their

families,” Martin’s story concluded. “I wish more consumers

could see and understand that Certified Angus Beef ® comes

from cows that were loved and cared for throughout the

entire process.”

BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS

When these storytellers become believers in the brand’s

mission and community, their genuine connection amplifies

the impact of their words. Many are introduced to the

brand and its partners after spending time with experts at

the brand’s headquarters or at popular events. Food-loving

writers also attend popular culinary gatherings like Pebble

Beach Food & Wine and Cayman Cookout. There, they meet

brand representatives and chef partners who later become

their go-to resources for stories focusing on beef. It’s all about

building relationships.

Aly Walansky, a freelance writer who contributes to several

national outlets, was introduced to the brand at Le Blanc

Spa Resorts ® Los Cabos. The all-inclusive luxury resort shared

its premium beef offering as part of the resort’s story, and

Walansky featured the brand in a Forbes piece—reaching

30 million—highlighting its top-notch culinary selections.

Then, a few months later, Walansky remembered the brand

as a resource when researching top chefs’ tips for grilling the

perfect steak. The result: an Insider feature sharing insight

from corporate chef Michael Ollier.

Similarly, Robert Moss, a writer for Southern Living, got to know

the brand after visiting The Culinary Center and attending

BBQ Summit, which he calls “Beef Camp.”

“We toured a cattle farm, stuffed our own custom-blend

sausages, and paired up in teams to cook an elaborate beefcentric

feast. But the best part was when Diana Clark, a meat

scientist for the Certified Angus Beef ® brand, took us into the

Meat Lab,” Moss wrote, introducing “the lesser known cuts of

beef you should be grilling” to readers.

Elizabeth Karmel has been a longtime friend of the brand.

As her career evolved from restaurant chef to food writer

for the Associated Press to cookbook author, her paths have

crossed the brand’s many times. The years-long friendship

reached new heights with the release of her best-selling

cookbook, “Steak and Cake,” highlighting her favorite foods

for celebratory gatherings.

In it, she explains how her understanding of the brand evolved:

“Angus beef is everywhere these days, but buying Angus beef

doesn’t mean you’re buying quality. I didn’t know that until

I met the folks at Certified Angus Beef … I had thought it

was solely a marketing program; I didn’t realize that it was

really a quality program. But after spending several days at its

headquarters in Ohio and breaking down a cow into steaks

with its top meat scientist, I’m a believer.”

She shared her enthusiasm for quality beef as she launched

her book on a publicity tour, doing several interviews

with national media outlets as well as a special dinner at

BlackBarn restaurant in New York City attended by a long

list of who’s who in the culinary world. At the center of that

event: a jaw-dropping display of hanging Certified Angus Beef ®

brand tomahawk steaks that captured guests’ attention and

Instagram accounts.

GETTING SOCIAL

Beyond traditional media like TV or print publications, media

and influencers make even bigger waves by using their own

social media platforms take their experiences and stories to

another level. Their use of Instagram, Facebook and Twitter

not only enable the brand’s team to continue engaging with

these key conversation starters, but also allow brand partners

and consumers to connect with them as well.

There’s also a growing network of people who aren’t

traditional media members, but they’ve formed a relationship

with the brand and actively share its stories. They capture

culinary creativity on social media channels and talk about it

with their online friends.

The Sunday Supper community—full of popular and talented

social media influencers—is, naturally, social. But through all

of its socializing, it’s creating content and more: it’s forming

longstanding relationships within the blogger community,

and with chefs and consumers, with every mouthwatering

food shot and home-chef-inspired recipe.

Through interaction at brand events, both at The Culinary

Center or at the farm, these social influencers have become

such a close-knit, beef-loving group that their interaction

takes place both on and offline. It’s characterized by deep

belly laughs, amazing food photography, knife work in the

Meat Lab and Instagram stories that capture every moment.

Their involvement with the brand and social media allows

them to meet people who shop meat cases hundreds of miles

away from them and to make an impact that is hard for just

one person to do alone. Every picture and every word inspired

by these interactions brings more visibility and exposure to

the brand’s unique story and community.


The brand’s senior corporate chef Michael Ollier, center, was invited to the

national Fox & Friends morning show to present a cooking segment for National

Prime Rib Day in May. In addition to sharing useful hints for choosing and

purchasing a prime rib roast, he shared some no-fail cooking tips for viewers.

SHARING THE BRAND’S STORIES

2019 Brand Update 39


Four-time heavyweight boxing

champion Evander Holyfield, center,

speaks about the Certified Angus Beef ®

brand during an interview with Sirius

XM in the lead-up to Super Bowl LIII.

Pro Football Hall of Famer Morten Andersen and Holyfield learn more

about the brand’s quality from president John Stika in the Meat Lab.

Senior Corporate Chef Michael

Ollier and Holyfield collaborate on

a signature steak dish that would be

featured during the publicity blitz.

Andersen takes a break from his recipe

development session at The Culinary Center.


THE BRAND ON

THE BIG STAGE

“The truth is this: Certified Angus Beef ® is the best beef in the world.”

High praise, indeed—but those who know the brand and believe in it wouldn’t quibble with that statement.

When the praise comes from a beloved Pro Football Hall of Famer and is shared with national media

outlets on the lead-up to Super Bowl LIII, though, it arguably takes on some greater significance.

“It’s the highest level. It’s the Pro Football Hall of Fame, as far as steaks. Yeah, that’s what you’ve got,”

legendary kicker Morten Andersen told the media. “The Certified Angus Beef ® brand is obviously the

standard-bearer for beef in America.”

Andersen, along with four-time heavyweight boxing champion Evander Holyfield, were in Atlanta in

partnership with the brand for the big game. Beforehand, the dynamic duo visited The Culinary Center to

learn about the brand beyond its reputation before heading to Super Bowl LIII’s Media Row, where media

gather during the days leading up to, during and after the big game. Andersen and Holyfield were joined

by team members including chefs Michael Ollier and Tony Biggs.

The chefs had worked with the special ambassadors during their time at brand headquarters to develop

their own signature recipes. Ollier and Holyfield developed “Evander’s Grilled Strip Steaks with Real Deal

Steak Sauce” while Biggs and Andersen whipped up “Morten’s Tenderloin Châteaubriand with Béarnaise

Sauce”—big, bold dishes that matched the big game vibes.

Those recipes were then prepared for Media Row participants like the CBS Sports network, Fox Sports

Radio, Sirius XM radio, and the United Kingdom’s No. 1 sports radio show, TalkSPORT, to keep them

fed and happy during interviews with the greats. The same recipes were also shared on the Big Game, Big

Steaks webpage, so people watching the game at home could enjoy the beef, too.

As part of the overall publicity blitz, which garnered an estimated 175 million impressions, the brand’s

“Rare Moments, Done Well” commercial aired in key markets with strong partner presence before and

during the big game, placing the brand on a level playing field with other prominent national brands.

The goal of it all: to position the very best Angus beef as a household name and reinforce its reputation

around the world.

“Activities like these connect the ultimate customer at a higher level with the brand,” says Tracey Erickson,

the Certified Angus Beef ® brand’s executive vice president of marketing. “Every voice counts in helping share

our brand and its story, and in the end drive consumers to brand partners.”

2019 Brand Update

41


FOR THE LOVE OF CHUCK

Another high-profile brand-building opportunity came via

Food Network Canada. Chef Dylan Benoit, a loyal brand

ambassador for years, was going to be hosting a new show

called “Fire Masters,” featuring some of North America’s best

chefs in a series of head-to-head grilling competitions.

It was the chance to work with a popular television network

that the brand had been waiting for. One that would allow

the brand logo to be present, the full name to be said and the

product to be used by the contestants.

“In such a format, we don’t want to be just a logo. We want

our product to be talked about, and Food Network Canada

did that for us,” Erickson says.

The brand was included in every segment of the first season of

“Fire Masters,” which had nearly 130,000 viewers. In addition,

two other friends of the brand, Ray “Dr. BBQ” Lampe and

Amy Mills, appeared as judges on the show, testament to the

ever-growing network of chefs, pitmasters and meatheads

who are part of the brand community.

All of that would have been enough. But then, something even

better happened: U.S. Cooking Channel, a sister network to

Food Network Canada, picked up the show and aired it in

its entirety. That meant more brand and logo presence in

the homes of thousands, and the hundreds of local brand

partners where those viewers shop.

Production is under way for new seasons of the show that

also feature the brand.

A FOUR-COUNTRY TOUR,

AND BEYOND

As the saying goes, “go big or go home,” and that’s especially

true in certain markets—in particular, when it comes to

customer events. These gatherings aren’t just a typical dinner

or short meeting. They are big, bold and extravagant, with

many attracting the attention of royalty and dignitaries.

That was the opportunity, and the challenge, when planning

the Middle East #BestAngusBeef Ever Tour, which included

stops in Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan.

Not only did the beef-filled events in each country foster

relationships with partners in the Middle East, but also

garnered media coverage and customer connections.

Biggs, who spent time cooking for the king and queen of

Jordan before joining the brand, was featured as the host

and lead chef. The U.S. Meat Export Federation, the U.S.

Beef Checkoff ® and brand partners Schmacon and Megas

Yeeros ® , helped fund the tour or provided product. Also

assisting were 10 well-known chefs in the region. One, Chef

Nojoud Saadeddin, invited Biggs to appear as a special guest

on her cooking show on Amman TV in Jordan.

So popular was the tour, a second version was held in

conjunction with Taste of the Caribbean, a noted culinary

event in the region. Future tours are planned for new corners

of the globe, all with an eye on guests and events relevant

to the specific markets that celebrate the brand’s worldwide

network of partners and hungry consumers.

Food Network Canada featured the brand in its grilling competition series

“Fire Masters.” The show was subsequently aired on the U.S. Cooking Channel,

garnering even wider exposure.


The brand’s Corporate Chef Peter Rosenberg, left, and Director of

Culinary Arts Tony Biggs, center, get ready to host guests at a stop on the

Middle East #BestAngusBeef Ever Tour with Chef Georgious Kastanias of

Megas Yeeros ® . At this event, the chefs offered guests an elevated take on

traditional street food with their premium all-beef gyros.

THE BRAND ON THE BIG STAGE

2019 Brand Update 43


Single Tree Farms, Charlotte, Mich.

Chris Ulrich mends fences at his Allenwood, Pa.,

farm. He installed the fences to keep cattle out of

the stream and improve water quality.

Conditions are arid and water is precious at Bradley 3 Ranch in

Memphis, Texas, but the Henderson family has taken many steps

over the past 20 years to improve the land for their cattle.


SEEKING SUSTAINABILITY

Today’s farmers and feeders focus on efficiency ,

quality , stewardship and education

“Cow farts are not a thing.”

That’s probably news to most consumers, who have been hearing for years that animal agriculture cattle,

in particular is largely to blame for climate change. Take, for example, a February 2019 CNBC story, which

stated: “Methane gas produced by bovine flatulence contributes a significant portion of the greenhouse

gases contributing to global warming, according to the United Nations.”

But according to Dr. Sara Place, formerly the Senior Director of Sustainable Beef Production with the

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, that’s just not true—and the real story isn’t that simple.

Place acknowledges that cattle do produce methane, but wants to clarify “it all comes out the front end.”

Correcting widespread misconceptions is a big part of her work to educate cattlemen and consumers alike

about the realities of beef production today.

The methane that cattle across the entire U.S. beef industry produce, she explains, represents only 2% of

greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, it lasts just 10 to 12 years in the atmosphere—which is important

to consider when the U.S. has had a relatively steady cattle herd size in recent years, and therefore, a

relatively steady amount of methane being produced.

“We’re not adding any new methane into the atmosphere. It’s kind of like a bathtub, where if you have

water coming in and going out at the same rate, the level is going to stay constant,” she explains. And,

in fact, she adds, the number of cattle has actually been decreasing over the past several decades, so it

stands to reason that cattle emissions are dropping over time, too.

2019 Brand Update 45


DEFINING, AND DEMONSTRATING,

SUSTAINABILITY

While the size of the U.S. herd may be contracting, beef

remains highly in demand by consumers. The balance works

thanks to the efforts of farmers, ranchers, feeders and others

who are raising more beef with fewer resources than ever

before. It’s all part of a focus on sustainability.

More than the buzzword it’s become, sustainability means

many things, Place explains. “It’s economic viability, it’s

social responsibility and doing right by the community,

and it’s environmental stewardship. It’s all three of those

areas together.”

Organizations like the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable

Beef, of which the Certified Angus Beef ® brand is a part,

help ensure that stakeholders across the beef community

are actively engaged.

Sustainability is part and parcel of life on the farm—a reality

that farmers and ranchers are finding value in communicating.

Far from a one-size-fits-all checklist of “sustainable measures”

to mark off one by one, they make decisions specifically for

their unique environment and operation.

For example, Chris Ulrich raises Angus cattle with his family

near Allenwood. Theirs is one of an estimated 87,000 working

farms in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, so runoff is a big

consideration.

“Our farm has a lot of rainfall, and as a child, I realized the water

that passed by the streams that are in our pastures ends up in the

Chesapeake Bay about two days later,” he says. “It’s pretty easy

to see that we have a profound impact on the area.”

Ulrich says the first thing they decided to do to minimize or

eliminate runoff was get the cattle out of the streams.

“Cattle and streams, they don’t belong together,” he says.

“We fence them out. We put fences up and down both

sides of the stream, and plant trees there, too. What we’ve

found is a lot of the runoff that comes off our pastures gets

trapped, and those nutrients get used up by the trees, and

keeps it from going into the stream.”

ENCOURAGING NATIVE SPECIES

Halfway across the country, in the central Panhandle of Texas,

the concerns and considerations are very different for rancher

James Henderson.

“When we talk about stream beds in our area, we say they

blow more than they flow,” he says of the arid, drought-prone

climate. “In 2009, ’10 and ’11 combined, we had a total of

nine inches of rain.”

He recalls a pivotal moment back in 1995, when a range

specialist visited the ranch and concluded it was “the most

understocked, over-grazed ranch I’ve ever been on.”

“That’s not what you want to hear as a rancher,” Henderson

remarks. “So we sat down, looked at that, and asked ourselves

why.” The result: a 20-year plan for resources. Their goal was

to have nowhere on the ranch where cattle had to travel more

than half a mile for water, while in that region, two miles to

water isn’t uncommon.

For Henderson, that meant controlling invasive brush like

mesquite and juniper, which not only encroach on grazing

land but also use up more than their share of valuable water.

Instead, Henderson planted more native grasses, which use

less water but had been displaced by brush. It’s working, he

reports, with more grasses and cattle thriving on the land

than ever before.

FEEDING MORE, WITH FEWER RESOURCES

Because cattle are so versatile, they thrive in environments as

different as Ulrich’s and Henderson’s. Consumers may not

realize it, but due to their unique physiology, cattle are also

incredible upcyclers.

“They’re this vessel for transforming all of these plants we

can’t eat, from landscapes where we can’t grow plants we

would want to eat, into a really high eating experience and

nutrition,” Place explains. “The major inputs that go into

producing beef are carbon dioxide out of the air, sunlight and

rainwater, mostly. It’s kind of cool to think that beef is solar

energy, in a much more delicious form.”

Furthermore, cattle eat things that aren’t in competition with

the human food supply, she notes.

Cattle feeders like Hy-Plains Feed Yard in southwest Kansas

take it one step further. Rather than just feed cattle, they’re

researching what and how they feed, with a goal of raising

more beef with fewer resources.

“We’re studying it, and we’re trying to see how we can

make those cattle more efficient,” says Tom Jones, Hy-

Plains co-owner and manager. His team’s goal is to raise

cattle that grade Prime on 60 or 80 days of feed instead of

the usual 140, and to cut down on their water use. “That’s

part of our sustainability story.”

Another part is working with the next generation. Jones

proudly describes an internship program that attracts

students from schools including Iowa State and Kansas

State University.

“They’re learning by working with a lot of different types of

producers,” he says. “This is the future coming up, and in our

industry, we need more young people.”

A research center that opened in 2017 has proven to be a

valuable resource in educating students from elementary

school, 4-H groups and at the university level, in addition to

the communal office space of the veterinarian, reproductive

specialist, research director and other experts on staff.

“We’re trying to promote our industry,” Jones says. “A lot of

the kids who visit us aren’t ag kids but city kids. We’ll spend

hours with them, all day long, just going through different

phases of it and explaining what the cattle business is like.

“We do have a great story to tell. And if we can study our

lessons we can make a huge difference.”


BUILDING BRIDGES

It’s one thing for these everyday environmentalists to make

sustainability a priority in their daily work. But like the ripple

effect of a single drop of water, there’s a lot of collective

power in folks like Ulrich, Henderson, Jones, Place and so

many others sharing their experiences, their research and

most of all their stories with a wider audience.

“These misconceptions around beef and beef production are

only going to persist as the marketplace continues to evolve,”

says Melissa Brewer, vice president of communications for the

Certified Angus Beef ® brand. “It’s vitally important that we as

a brand help facilitate these conversations and connect our

partners, their customers and consumers with those who

understand the reality of the beef community firsthand.”

Often, it’s about creating connections and building relationships.

“When people get the chance to meet a farmer and ask them

questions, they usually realize they care about the same

things,” says Brewer. “Everyone cares about what they’re

feeding their family. People often just want to know that

farmers really are doing the right things, and care about their

cattle and their land.”

That’s why brand partners and influencers are invited to

spend time on real working farms as they learn more about the

brand and the beef community, so they have the opportunity

to ask questions and gain a greater perspective that they can

take back to their teams, their customers or their followers.

Supporting these in-person opportunities are a variety of

resources available to brand partners like fact sheets, videos

and other takeaways that help share the ranching story and

dispel myths.

“Farmers have a great story to share, and consumers are

hungry to know more,” Brewer says. “With that comes the

obligation and opportunity to learn more from each other

and open up more dialogue, upholding our promise of

delivering the very best beef.”

Place concurs.

“We can move quality and efficiency together. It’s not that

as we become more efficient, we’re sacrificing these other

areas. That’s really what sustainability is. It’s about being

good businesspeople and doing right by the environment,

and doing right by the community.”

SEEKING SUSTAINABILITY

2019 Brand Update 47


Greg McCurry, Mt. Hope, Kan.

Steve and Ginger Olson, Hereford, Texas

The youngest generation of the

Schroeder family, Clarence, Iowa

The Haverkamp Family, Bern, Kan.


BUILDING CONNECTIONS

WITH CATTLEMEN

Empowering ranchers helps them understand and meet consumer demand

Nobody can do this alone; the beef community is no one-man show. That’s why the Certified Angus Beef ®

brand invests in relationships at every step, starting where it all begins.

“Without our brand, cattlemen would still raise cattle. They would still make improvements and

advancements each year, but arguably they would not be as in tune with the wants and needs of the

consumer,” says brand President John Stika.

The supply team helps communicate consumer preference and demand signals to farmers and ranchers,

and then arms them with information and tools to create more of the best beef.

2019 Brand Update 49


AIMING HIGHER

It’s just a small logo. It doesn’t look like much, unless you’re

trying to sort through lines of data on thousands of cattle.

Then the Targeting the Brand SM logo is a welcome signal. The

mark identifies animals more likely to help ranchers breed

the next generation of cattle that qualify for the brand, by

indicating which have genetics likely meet requirements for

marbling, ribeye size, carcass weight and more.

“It’s a little like a Good Housekeeping seal of approval for

livestock,” says Kara Lee, production brand manager. “The

goal is to make it easier for ranchers to sort through all the

information available today, and help cattlemen who are

really focused on quality get there more easily.”

Registered breeders at 75 sales this year used the Targeting

the Brand logo to market bulls that met the program’s

requirement—nearly triple the previous sale season.

“We try to arm people with enough information that they can

make a decision on what they need for their cattle and their

herd,” says Debbie Davis, who ranches with her husband, Jim,

and their family in Oklahoma. “We can say, ‘Hey, we’ve got those

cattle that can produce the brand, that can get you a premium.’

We’re aiming for the white-tablecloth crowd,” she says.

“When cattlemen buy bulls, that sets the direction of their

herd for years to come,” Lee says. “It’s a big decision, and

we’re happy their suppliers are making sure beef quality is

part of the picture.”

FEEDING QUALITY FORUM INFORMS

From breeding to calving to feeding—it takes months and

years of work to get cattle from that bull purchase to when

the calves are weaned and ready to move on to finishing.

For just a few short months, all of that potential rests in the

hands of cattle feeders.

The annual Feeding Quality Forum is one way the brand keeps

relevant topics in front of those who are the last in the chain

to care for the cattle. This year’s two-day event in Amarillo,

Texas, covered everything from consumer preferences

and packer commentary to traceability and generational

differences in the workforce. All topics focused on challenging

the beef community to think about the changes it can make

to ensure its viability.

Speakers addressed topics ranging from animal care to

alternative meats.

“Sometimes we have to have an open mind to be on the menu,”

suggested retail food expert Anne-Marie Roerink, principal

at 210 Analytics, who studies consumer trends in the Food

Marketing Institute’s annual Power of Meat survey. She noted

that while consumers may want to include more plants in their

diets, it doesn’t have to be at the expense of meat.

Even in a climate where everything from peanut butter to granola

bars is being positioned as a great source of protein, “meat is still

the superior deliverer,” she said, challenging the beef community

to keep working to win and maintain consumers.

“The speakers represent a cross section of thought leaders on

a variety of topics; the dialogue is very fresh, informative and

forward thinking,” says Paul Dykstra, beef cattle specialist.

“We hope attendees garner some ideas or different ways of

thinking about familiar challenges that will either stimulate

immediate results or longer-term directional change.”

THE CATTLEMAN CONNECTION

Throughout the year, the brand interacts with farmers and

ranchers at regional and national events, but in between,

there’s always a steady conversation about economic

incentives and management for quality.

“We like to hear from cattlemen, keeping a pulse on what’s

most important to their livelihoods, and then in turn, we can

share ways the brand fits into that,” says Miranda Reiman,

director of producer communications. Videos and audio

clips air on national farm networks, articles run in trade

publications across North America and social and digital

media amplify the reach. “Our goal is to get producers more

news and ideas to help them in their pursuit of quality. If

they’re successful, we’re all successful.”

Last fall, the producer communications team streamlined

a mix of digital venues into one easily recognized style with

their rebranding as the Certified Angus Beef ® brand Cattleman

Connection. A new website led the changes, but users on

Facebook, Twitter and Instagram also noticed a continuity

among platforms.

“When cattlemen are looking for production information

now, they can certainly tell they’re in the right spot,” she

says. “This change brings a new, premium experience to our

cattleman resources by making them easier to find, read and

use on any device.”

WITH THE CONSUMER IN MIND

Keeping a consumer focus has been at the heart of this brand

since the beginning. That philosophy will continue to shape

the entire Angus organization into the future. Earlier this year,

Mark McCully, longtime vice president of production for the

brand, was named chief executive officer of the American

Angus Association ® .

“The interests of the consumer have never been better

represented at our parent company than they are today,”

Stika says. “Mark’s 19 years of experience in all segments of

the business gives him a unique perspective as he leads the

Angus breed, and we will all benefit from that.”

The year-end numbers show cattlemen have responded to the

signals that say, “Produce more quality.”

“We had the equivalent of 13 months of supply this past fiscal

year,” Stika notes. “That didn’t just happen. It was several

years of intentional focus.”

It happens when all pull toward a common goal. Those

relationships remind us we’re all in this together.


Single Tree Farms, Charlotte, Mich.

BUILDING CONNECTIONS WITH CATTLEMEN

2019 Brand Update 51


Hadrick Family Ranch, Faulkton, S.D.

2019 Brand Update 53


The Certified Angus Beef ® brand name and marks are

service/trademarks of Certified Angus Beef LLC.

© 2019, Volume 23 Issue 1, published annually.

All rights reserved. 12/19-19057-2700

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