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Angus Productions Inc.
Copyright © 2009
Angus Productions Inc.

Marketing Management: Creating and Capturing Value


PHOENIX, Ariz. (Jan. 28, 2009) — “Step away from the producers’ shoes and envision you are a young mother in front of the meatcase,” said Leann Saunders Wednesday, Jan. 28, at the opening session of the NCBA Cattlemen’s College sponsored by Pfizer Animal Health. “Imagine her decisions: ‘Is this meat safe for my kids?’ or ‘Were the animals handled humanely?’ or how about ‘Is this a healthy, wholesome, natural, organic choice for my family?’ ”

As producers and members of the beef industry, it is our duty to portray a positive message for beef, but to also provide the answers to the questions consumers are asking, Saunders, IMI Global Inc. founder and president, said. When consumers look at the product in the meatcase, they want to see answers right there on the package. But, to provide those answers a few steps have to be taken.

It all starts with the producer.

If producers find an animal capable of reaching its highest potential they will indeed create a highly value-added product. John Butler, Beef Marketing Group (BMG) chief executive officer (CEO), said the highest animals on the scale of cascading values are the ones that:

But to ensure the best quality product for beef consumers, each link in the chain of production must be willing to play by the rules.

“If we are going to be involved in a certified program, we have to work with the rancher to make sure they are going to participate and follow the rules,” Butler said. “And to meet market demand, the stocker needs to have a consistent supply.”

Where the cattle are the most concentrated — the feedyard — is where the selection process is most necessary. The feedyard has to comply with the rules to market a natural, humanely handled product. “The next step is processors,” Butler said. “They make cattle ready for the customer. It is important for the packer to know what the end user will be looking for.”

After the cycle rounds the rancher, stocker, feedyard and packer, it reaches the end user — the consumer. “We think we grow the best beef in the world,” Butler said. “But, we need to ask ourselves the question, ‘Is the customer using our beef?’ ”

“The consumer looks over the label for the verification that what you say you are doing is what you are actually doing,” Butler agrees.

He says that 62% of consumers agree that news reports of recalls make them wary to buy beef.

“The customer is confused,” he said. “Those packing plant videos caused major problems in beef purchasing. Because of reports shown on the news and in newspapers, we have a doubting consumer. We have to do more than tell them we treat our animals humanely. We are going to have to verify everything we do.”

Saunders suggests using verification practices to build a brand promise or a relationship of trust with the consumer. Third-party verification can play a vital role in giving the customer that extra bit of satisfaction that the product they are purchasing was “made” in a way they approve. Such third-party labels include “Certified Humane Raised & Handled” and “Fair Trade Practices.”

In the end, the industry has to add up the costs of becoming consumer-compliant and figure out if it is all worth it. To get the true value of a beef carcass, the consumer has to want to purchase it.


“Proving to them that the cattle industry is worth their dollars and that beef is still a safe, healthy option may take a lot of up-front costs,” Butler said, “but we have a positive story to tell. It is feasible.”

Editor’s Note: This article was written under contract or by staff of Angus Productions Inc. (API), which claims copyright to this article. It may not be published or distributed without the express permission of Angus Productions Inc. To request reprint permission and guidelines, contact Shauna Rose Hermel, editor, at (816) 383-5270.