Meat+Poultry - September 2020 - 42

PROCESSOR PROFILE

Akaushi beef is highly
marbled but with a
fatty acid composition
that has a positive ratio
of monounsaturated
to saturated fat.

42

EXPERIENCE IS EVERYTHING
With few options for growing its foodservice
business, HeartBrand Beef, which historically
has been more foodservice focused with a little
retail, needed other options for revenue.
Retail became the best bet. Market research
firm IRI, citing the most recent figures, found
the meat category generated dollar sales 22%
above 2019 dollar sales and 11% above volume
sales. Beef was among the top-performing
animal proteins with dollar sales coming
in 27.5% higher compared with 2019. So,
the foodservice-to-retail ratio changed for
HeartBrand Beef after the negative impacts of
COVID-19 hit the foodservice industry.
"We found some good retail customers,"
Beeman said. "Luckily, my dad's been in the
meat business for - he says his entire adult life
- I guess it's 40-something years, so he's had
some good contacts with retail people.
"We put a lot more emphasis on our retail
business, and with less people eating out and,
in general, people having less to do we found
that people are wanting to spend more time
cooking - people are looking for something to
pass their time."
People aren't just thinking about what
they're going to eat, Beeman added. When it
comes to beef, consumers are thinking about
how they're going to cook their meat and about
spending time on the barbecue pit and the
overall eating and dining experience at home.
"I had more of my friends reach out to me
wanting something unique or something fun

MEAT+ POULTRY | 09.20 | www.meatpoultry.com

to cook or to cook it on their actual charcoal
grill where before they just used a gas grill
because that heated up in 15 minutes," he said.
"But now they have enough time to use their
charcoal grill and take an hour to heat it. So,
I think that's been a pretty big change - how
they're cooking and just kind of going back to a
slower way of life."
The confluence of trends - declining/nonexistent foodservice traffic, consumers eating
at home more often but still desirous of flavor
adventures - represented an opportunity for
HeartBrand Beef to expose consumers to
the eating experience Akaushi beef delivers.
Eating experience is the foremost attribute that
attracts repeat buyers.
"It does take a little bit to get someone
to try it, because it takes time to get people
to spend more money for something that is
still slightly similar - we're still selling beef
here," Beeman said. "It's not like we're selling
something completely different. So, they do
have options. But once they try one of these
Akaushi steaks...that repeat sale is very high."

BEST SELLS BETTER
Despite the uncertainty driven by the
pandemic, the beef industry overall recovered
well from the plant closures and slowed line
speeds that challenged processors. By June,
the US Department of Agriculture reported,
cattle, swine and broiler processing facilities
were operating at more than 95% of their
average capacity compared to the same time
a year ago. Beef facilities were operating at
98% capacity compared to the same time in
2019. While the industry was not best served
by a backlog of cattle to harvest, Beeman said
that, ultimately, more premium cuts of beef
were moving to grocery store shelves and into
consumers' kitchens.
"I look at the US beef supply and I really
think what's happened with it over the last
five years with the Prime grade going from,
you know, whatever number you want to
pick - 2%, 4% to 6% or 8% somewhere in there
- I just think that is a huge plus for the US
beef supply."
"Bill Fielding says it as well as anybody
- that if we could get everybody in America
eating a Choice or better steak instead of a
Select or a Standard, we're going to sell more
meat," Beeman said.


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Meat+Poultry - September 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Meat+Poultry - September 2020

Meat+Poultry - September 2020 - 1
Meat+Poultry - September 2020 - 1
Meat+Poultry - September 2020 - 2
Meat+Poultry - September 2020 - 3
Meat+Poultry - September 2020 - 4
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Meat+Poultry - September 2020 - 50
Meat+Poultry - September 2020 - VDG1
Meat+Poultry - September 2020 - VDG2
Meat+Poultry - September 2020 - 51
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