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,
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
Jerry Connealy, Chairman,
Mick Varilek, Geddes, South Dakota
American Angus Association ®
c/o Certified Angus Beef LLC
206 Riffel Road
Wooster, OH 44691-8588 USA
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.
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
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
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.
AMPLE SUPPLY SPUR
GROWTH P. 7
A SEAT AT
THE TABLE P.11
WE ARE CHAMPIONS...
OF THE BRAND P. 17
ADDS VALUE P. 21
TRADING UP P. 27
IT’S PERSONAL P. 33
BRAND’S STORIES P. 37
BRAND ON THE
BIG STAGE P. 41
SUSTAINABILITY P. 45
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.
• Maximize brand integrity
• Provide unparalleled customer service
• Grow brand awareness
• Innovate with new products
• Increase brand sales with licensed
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.
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
537.5 MILLION LBS. 4.6 %
424 MILLION LBS. .2 %
207.5 MILLION LBS. 23.2 %
81 MILLION LBS.
*cannot be assigned to a specific division
FISCAL 2019 SALES BY PRODUCT CATEGORY
760 MILLION LBS. 4.2 %
275 MILLION LBS. .9 %
215 MILLION LBS. 14.7 %
33.5 MILLION LBS.
ANGUS-INFLUENCED CATTLE ID
CAB ACCEPTANCE RATE
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
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
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.
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
“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.
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
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
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
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
“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
“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
Barbecue, is one of many
passionate meatheads in
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
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
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.
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
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
“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
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
remained a mainstay
in steakhouses and
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
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
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
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
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
eagerly awaits their
program at The
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.
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
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
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.”
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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,
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.
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,
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
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
“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
“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
“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
“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.”
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
“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.”
“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.”
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.
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
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
“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
“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